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Miura: Who told you to shoot?!
Sato: He took the rice even though he lost. I wanted to teach him a lesson.
[Miura looks over at Sato's victim, takes his gun and points it at his head]
Miura: Never open fire in here again.
Sato: Got it.
~ Sato's blunt conversation with General Miura about the reason he randomly killed a Chinese man

Colonel Sato (in Japanese: 陸軍大佐 佐藤, Rikugun-Taisa Satō/in Chinese: 佐藤上校, Zuǒténg shàngxiào) is the deputy of Miura and the secondary antagonist of Ip Man. Compared to Miura, he is far more sadistic and less honorable than his superior.

He was portrayed by Tenma Shibuya.


Sato was a Japanese colonel who lived when the Japanese and Chinese were at war. In 1937, the Japanese army attacked China and took over, massacring many of the people who lived there. The Chinese were rendered weak and poor, having to work hard just to get a bag of rice.

Sato and several Japanese soldiers arrive in China one day. They want the Chinese martial artists to fight for their entertainment. If one of them wins a fight, they get bags of rice depends on how many Japanese fighter they defeat. A Chinese fighter named Master Liu had gone missing, so the title character Ip Man volunteered to go in order to see what happened to him.

In the stadium, Colonel Sato watched as Miura proved himself a powerful fighter, defeating three Chinese men but giving them rice anyway. Ip Man finally saw Liu, who defeated his opponent and received a bag of rice. However, he then offered to fight three Japanese men to get more rice. He was unable to fight them all and lost, so he took his bag of rice to leave. This is where Sato's true nature is shown. He immediately shoots Liu in the head, killing him instantly. A shocked Miura asks why he did that. Sato's reply was that he took the bag of rice even though he lost, even though the bag of rice was from the battle he did win. Miura was not satisfied with the answer and threatened to shoot Sato if he tried again during the tournament. An enraged Ip Man, who saw Liu's death, demanded to fight ten Japanese, and defeated them all quickly but refused to take all ten bags of rice for ten defeated Japanese.

Miura tells Sato to find Ip Man and force him to teach the Japanese Wing Chun. However, when he does find Ip Man and his family, he harasses Ip's wife and children, leading to Ip Man to attack them and knock them unconscious. Former police man, Li Zhao, who had now become a translator for the Japanese, starts stepping on Sato's leg to break it, which fails. In retaliation, Sato would later brutally beat Zhao as punishment.

Ip Man challenges Miura to a battle, which he accepts. Sato pleads with Miura to let him shoot Ip, but the honorable general refuses because that would mean accepting defeat and he prefers killing Ip with his own skill of Karate. Another motive for Miura for fighting and killing Ip man in the fighting ring is to prove that the Japanese could beat the Chinese fair and square in anything even martial arts, which can be used to crush Chinese resistance spirit. However, the concerned Sato tells Ip Man he will kill him if he defeats the general.

During the match, Ip Man gains the upper hand, and Sato starts to worry and starts to grab his gun. Ip Man finally does beat Miura and the Chinese cheer his name. Unexpectedly, Sato takes his gun and shoots Ip Man in the shoulder. There is a moment of silence as Ip falls to the ground. Then an outcry begins and the Chinese attack the Japanese soldiers, who are no match for the large group of angry mobs. Li Zhao wrestles with Sato, holds his gun to his neck and pulls the trigger, killing him.


  • Sato's rank in the Imperial Japanese Army is Colonel (陸軍大佐, Rikugun-Taisa), one of the five largest ranks in the Japanese Imperial Army.
  • Because of his cruelty, he is implied in several moments of the film that not only the Chinese, but also his superior General Miura has great disdain against him (so much so that at least once, Miura threatened to end Sato's life due to his actions and for trying to kill Ip Man, since Ip Man had earned Miura's respect).


           Ip Man Villains

Ip Man 1: General Miura | Colonel Sato | Kam Shan-chu
Ip Man 2: Taylor Milos | Wallace | Hung Chun-nam | Cheng Wai-kei | Kam Shan-chu
Ip Man 3: Cheung Tin-chi | Frank | Ma King-sang | Muay Thai Warrior
Master Z: The Ip Man Legacy: Owen Davidson | Police Comissioner | Tso Sai Kit | Tso Ngan Kwan | Sadi the Warrior | Ma King-sang | Cheung Tin-chi
Ip Man 4: Barton Geddes | Colin Frater | Andrew Walters | Becky Walters