It is Cult Faction’s sad duty to report that Hanzo the Razor himself, Sonny Chiba, has passed away at the age of 82 years old from a Covid-related illness. The sad news was broken by his agent.
Chiba garnered world-wide fame for his role as Hanzo the Razor in Sword of Justice (1972), The Snare (1973), and Who’s Got the Gold? (1974). Decades later he appeared as Hanzo the Razor’s descendent Hattori Hanzo in Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill movies.
“An actor’s body should be full of emotions, whether it is happiness or sorrow, pain or joy, enraged or elated. You have to express yourself with your whole body. Japanese actors don’t normally do this. What I’m doing as an action star is what every actor should be doing. Action is drama. If we cannot make the audience laugh, smile or cry with us, we are not actors. That may be idealistic–but it’s true.”
Chiba’s career began in 1959 in Nana-iro kamen, known in the west as Seven Colour Mask, staring as Kotarô Ran aka Spectrum Mask. He has since appeared numerous times on the big screen and small screen in the likes of Drifting Detective: Black Wind in Harbor, Invasion of the Neptune Men, Man with the Funky Hat, The Escape, The Runaway, Yakuza G-men: Meiji ankokugai, Agent X-2: Operation Underwater, The Golden Bat, Gangster Cop, The Street Fighter, Return of the Street Fighter, The Streetfighter’s Last Revenge, Sister Street Fighter, Wolf Guy, Karate Warriors, Doberman Cop, Space Sheriff Gavan, Space Sheriff Sharivan, Space Sheriff Shaider, Aces: Iron Eagle III, Codename: Silencer, Battle Royale II, Kill Bill 1 and 2, and The Trusted Confidant.