Japanese actor Shinichi Chiba, better known to us in the U.S. as Sonny Chiba, has officially retired. According to Variety, the actor is hanging up his black belt for a teacher's degree.
That's right, the man behind such notorious classics as Street Fighter and Kill Bill Vol. 1 & 2 plans on returning to his alma mater, Nippon Sport Science University, where he will be an inspector. He will also be opening a branch of his Los Angeles acting academy in Japan.
The actor is only retiring his screen name, though. He plans to continue acting under his real name of Sadaho Maeda. He may also use his American name Sonny in the future.
Shooting a period drama for NHK made him decide to retire the well known name. While wearing fifty pounds of armor as a Japanese Warlord, the sixty-eight year old actor suffered a sever asthma attack. He stated, "Itagaki died (in the drama) -- now I want to bury 'Shinichi Chiba' as well."