He was born in Chuo, Tokyo, Japan, but lived most of his early childhood in Shenyang, Liaoning when northeast China was colonized by Japan during the Second Sino-Japanese War. His father was working in a paper factory when they lived in China. Two of his younger brothers are manga artists: Akio Chiba, and Shigeyuki Chiba who is almost completely unknown outside Japan, despite writing many popular sports manga in Japan. Shigeyuki Chiba works under the pen name Taro Nami. Chiba's works include Tomorrow's Joe, his best known work. Many of his early titles are still in print due to continued popularity. He lives in Nerima, Tokyo.
At the end of the Sino-Japanese War, Chiba's family lived in the attic of a work-acquaintance of his father until they could find a way to get back to Japan. In 1958, he made his professional debut in Shōjo Book with Butōkai no Shōjo. In the 1960s, he wrote shōnen and shōjo manga at the same time. He won the Shogakukan Manga Award for seinen/general manga in 1977 for Notari Matsutaro.
In July 2012 he was appointed as the chairman of the Japan Cartoonists Association after Takashi Yanase stepped down due to age and health reasons. In Fall 2012 he was awarded with the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette, by the Japanese government.
- Chikai no Makyū (Weekly Shōnen Magazine, Kodansha, Jan 1961–Dec 1962, created by Kazuya Fukumoto)
- 1•2•3 to 4•5•Roku (Shōjo Club, Kodansha, Jan–Dec 1962)
- Shidenkai no Taka (Weekly Shōnen Magazine, Jul 1963-Jan 1965)
- Harisu no Kaze (Weekly Shōnen Magazine, Apr 1965-Nov 1967)
- Misokkasu (Shōjo Friend, Kodansha, Aug 1966-Aug 1967)
- Ashita no Joe (Weekly Shōnen Magazine, Jan 1968-Jun 1973, written by Asao Takamori)
- Akane-chan (Shōjo Friend, April 6, 1968-September 29, 1968)
- Hotaru Minako (Weekly Shōnen Magazine, Sep 1972)
- Ore wa Teppei (Weekly Shōnen Magazine, Aug 1973-Apr 1980)
- Notari Matsutarō (Big Comic, Shogakukan, Aug 1973-Jun 1993 and Oct 1995-May 1998)
- Ashita Tenki ni Naare (Weekly Shōnen Magazine, Jan 1981-May 1991)
- Shōnen yo Racket o Idake (Weekly Shōnen Magazine, May 1992-Jun 1994)
- "Chiba Tetsuya". Retrieved 2006-08-28.
- "Japanese cartoonists hold antiwar exhibition in China". Nanjing: Xinhua. 2009-08-16.
- 小学館漫画賞: 歴代受賞者 (in Japanese). Shogakukan. Retrieved 2007-08-19.
- "Chiba named head of cartoonists group". Yomiuri Shimbun. 2012-07-29. Retrieved 2012-11-03.
- "Ashita no Joe's Chiba Inducted Into Order of the Rising Sun". Anime News Network. 2012-11-02. Retrieved 2012-11-03.