Sho Kosugi

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Sho Kosugi (ショー・コスギ, Shō Kosugi, born Shōichi Kosugi (小杉 正一, Kosugi Shōichi) on June 17, 1948) is a Japanese martial artist, actor, filmmaker and writer with extensive training in Shindō jinen-ryū Karate, Kendo, Judo, Iaido, Kobudo, Aikido and Ninjutsu. A former All Japan Karate Champion, he gained popularity as an actor during the 1980s, often playing ninjas. He starred in a trilogy of ninja-themed martial arts films produced by Cannon Films, before earning a starring role in the primetime television series The Master.

Sho Kosugi achieved stardom in the United States and internationally during the 1980s. After thrilling audiences as the third lead and villain in Enter the Ninja (1981), he was given the solo lead starring role as the hero in the follow-up film Revenge of the Ninja (1983). Like Bruce Lee did with Kung Fu in the 1970s, Sho Kosugi ignited a worldwide Ninja craze in the 1980s with his films. And similar to the Bruceploitation phenomenon that followed Lee's death, many copy-cat ninja films were made following the worldwide popularity of Sho's early ninja films. A number of films produced in Hong Kong and Taiwan even used Sho's image on their posters and home video covers, despite the fact that Mr. Kosugi was not involved in these productions. Sho's image as a ninja was used and continues to be used on unsanctioned T-shirts, posters, fans, collectibles, and even Video game covers like The Last Ninja. Following his starring role in Revenge of the Ninja, he would go on to be the lead star in 6 more American films: Ninja III: The Domination (1984), 9 Deaths of the Ninja (1985), Pray For Death (1985), Rage of Honor (1987), Black Eagle (1988), and Journey of Honor (1991) which he also produced and co-wrote. He also received "special appearance" credit in the American films Aloha Summer (1988) and Blind Fury (1989), and was the third lead in the Japanese film Kyokuto Kuroshakai (1993). Sho also co-starred in the NBC TV series The Master where he played double-duty as the lead villain and also doubled for actor Lee Van Cleef in most of the fight scenes. Along with his on-screen work, Sho also served as fight choreographer, ninja technical advisor, and stunt coordinator on many of his projects. He also directed two V-cinema movies in Japan starring his son Kane Kosugi. While working in Japan, Sho also had a high-profile role in the prestigious long-running NHK Taiga Drama TV series Ryūkyū no Kaze (Dragon Spirit) (1993) and was a special guest star in 2 episodes of 1994–1995 TV series Ninja Sentai Kakuranger, part of the long running Super Sentai series. After 16 years off the silver screen, Sho returned as the lead villain in Ninja Assassin (2009) produced by Hollywood heavyweights the Wachowskis, Joel Silver and Grant Hill, and directed by James McTeigue: "If you've ever watched any ninja films from the 1980s, you know that Sho Kosugi is the ninja; he is the man," asserts McTeigue.


Year Title Role Notes
1974 The Godfather: Part II Passerby Extra
1976 Bruce Lee Fights Back from the Grave Suzuki
1978 The Bad News Bears Go To Japan Kata demonstrator Extra
1981 Enter the Ninja (Movie) Hasegawa
1983 Revenge of the Ninja (Movie) Cho Osaki
1984 Ninja III: The Domination Goro Yamada
1985 9 Deaths of the Ninja Spike Shinobi
Pray for Death Akira Saito
1987 Rage of Honor Shiro Tanaka
1988 Aloha Summer Yukinaga Konishi
Black Eagle Ken Tani
1989 Blind Fury The Assassin
1991 Journey of Honor Daigorō Mayeda
1993 Drug Connection Larry Matsuda
1994 The Fighting King Director
The Fighting King 2 Director
2002 The Scorpion King Taiko choreographer
2009 Ninja Assassin Ozunu

Video games

Year Title Role Notes
1998 Tenchu: Stealth Assassins Rikimaru (Tenchu: Stealth Assassins) motion capture