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Sonny Chiba to direct Za Toichi

Chiba’s first directorial work announced

Sun, January 20, 2008 (8:07pm EST)

Sonny Chiba, who has changed his stage name to JJ Sonny Chiba, has revealed his first project as a movie director. Using his newly created alias of Rindo Wachinaga, he is directing and writing a film called “Za Toichi,” an obvious play on the famous work "Zatoichi."

The title can be read as “The Toichi,” where “toichi” is a common abbreviation of the phrase “tooka de ichiwari,” referring to illegal loans that charge 10% interest for every 10 days. The protagonist, played by V-Cinema actor Ginji Yoshikawa, is a moneylender who, like the swordsman Zatoichi, is blind.

Chiba (as Wachinaga) is directing and writing the script, and there is a possibility that he will co-star with Yoshikawa under his acting name.

The film’s budget is reportedly 200 million yen. Filming is scheduled to begin in April, followed by a possible release in the fall.

This sounds pretty cool. I’d watch anything with Sonny Chiba in it. 8) He’s still as cool as he was all those years ago.