Bruce Lee, the famous Chinese actor and kung fu master from the 1970s, remains the pride and joy of Asians up to this day. Recently, a Japanese boy became the talk of netizens for his resemblance to Bruce Lee.
The 7-year-old, Ryusei Imai, with his distinctive yellow jumpsuit, skill with nunchucks, and the way he idolizes Lee, has gotten a lot of attention. People are calling him “Little Bruce Lee,” and wondering if he could be the reincarnation of the famous actor.
According to Ryusei’s father, the boy adored Bruce Lee from the time he was an infant. At the age of 1, he started watching Bruce Lee’s movies. At the age of 3, he started playing with nunchucks. At the age of 4, he began to imitate Bruce Lee’s kung fu. At the age of 5, he developed a muscular body, and could almost perfectly mimic Bruce Lee’s complex martial arts moves.
Ryusei desperately wanted to become a martial arts expert like Bruce Lee. His father posted the boy’s photos and videos on the Internet to motivate him. He did not expect his son to become famous overnight. Ryusei’s Chinese kung fu surprised the world, as word spread from Japan to South Korea, and even to the United States. More netizens began asking: “Is Ryusei the reincarnation of Bruce Lee?”
Ryusei also caught the attention of Dan Inosanto, who had been a student of Bruce Lee. Dan personally made a trip to Japan to take Ryusei as his student. Dan complimented Ryusei, saying that the boy is very talented, can endure hardship, and is very modest and disciplined.
Ryusei even made a trip with Dan to Seattle to visit the grave of Bruce Lee in order to pay his respect. In front of the tomb, Ryusei performed with nunchucks.
In the beginning, Ryusei only wanted to copy Bruce Lee. Now, at the age of 7, he has begun learning martial arts in earnest and aspires to become another Bruce Lee.
Kung fu master
Bruce Lee developed jeet kune do (translated into “The Way of the Intercepting Fist”). Born in Chinatown, San Francisco, he lived in Kowloon, Hong Kong, and became the disciple of Yip Man, a Chinese martial arts master of Wing Chun. Yip Man had several students who became martial arts masters in their own right, but Bruce Lee was his most famous student.
In the 1970s, Bruce Lee starred in kung fu films. His first feature film was Fist of Fury, which was critically acclaimed. It excelled at the box office and made Bruce Lee famous across Asia. After that, he starred in The Way of the Dragon, The Big Boss, Enter the Dragon, and his final, unfinished film, Game of Death. These are the most famous of Bruce Lee’s films, and they shook audiences internationally. Bruce Lee became the first Chinese to star in Hollywood films and to showcase Chinese kung fu to the world.
The image of Bruce Lee holding nunchucks and wearing black overalls was known to all his fans. Stephen Chow (a Chinese film director, actor, producer, and martial artist) once remarked that Bruce Lee had a huge impact on him.
Bruce Lee had a tremendous influence in promoting martial arts through his films, and has been named by Time magazine as “one of the most important 100 people in the 20th century.”
Watch this video about 7-year-old Ryusei Ima:
Translated by Chua BC and edited by Mikel Davis.