Rocky Aaoki Has Left a Lasting Legacy Behind Through Benihana Restaurants; Here's His Net Worth

Rocky Aaoki Has Left a Lasting Legacy Behind Through Benihana Restaurants; Here's His Net Worth
Rocky Aoki/ Gettyimages/ Photo by Jamie McCarthy/WireImage

Name Rocky Aoki
Net Worth $40 Million
Salary $14 Million
Annual Income $20 Million+
Source of Income Restaurants, wrestling 
DOB Oct 9, 1938
DOD Jul 10, 2008 
Gender Male
Profession Restaurateur, offshore powerboat racer, wrestler
Nationality Japanese-American

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Largely famous through his chain of restaurants called Benihana, Japanese-American amateur wrestler and restaurateur Rocky Aoki left behind a lasting legacy with a net worth of $40 million at the time of his passing in 2008. His venture Benihana now boasts of more than 100 franchises worldwide. In addition to his culinary endeavors, Aoki's life was marked by diverse accomplishments, from wrestling to entrepreneurship.

Aoki's income was predominantly derived from his remarkable career as a restaurateur, particularly through the establishment and expansion of Benihana, which revolutionized the teppanyaki dining experience. Additionally, Aoki dabbled in other ventures, such as the launch of the magazine Genesis and offshore powerboat racing.

Rocky Aoki/ GettyImages/ Photo by Sylvain Gaboury/FilmMagic
Rocky Aoki/ GettyImages/ Photo by Sylvain Gaboury/FilmMagic

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Apart from founding Benihana, Aoki launched Genesis, a softcore porn magazine, in 1973, and provided financial support for the Double Eagle V, the first balloon to cross the Pacific Ocean successfully.

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Year Earnings
2003 $17 Million
2006 $23 Million
2023 $40 Million

Aoki's life was marked by personal triumphs and challenges. He was born Hiroaki Aoki on October 9, 1938, in Tokyo, Japan, to Yunosuke and Katsu. Aoki's journey took an unconventional path, from forming a rock band with friends to pursuing a wrestling career. He attended Keio University, where he excelled in karate, wrestling, and track and field, although he was expelled due to a fight. He then moved to the United States, where he gained fame as a wrestler, winning the flyweight title for three consecutive years.

But Aoki's most notable accomplishment was the creation of Benihana, which introduced the teppanyaki dining experience to the world. The name "Benihana" was suggested by his father, and was inspired by a lone red safflower he discovered in postwar Tokyo.

Restaurateur Rocky Aoki walks his dog Boogy along Fifth Avenue October 10, 2006 in New York City/ Photo by Arnaldo Magnani/Getty Images
Restaurateur Rocky Aoki walks his dog Boogy along Fifth Avenue October 10, 2006 in New York City/ Photo by Arnaldo Magnani/Getty Images

 

Despite his success, Aoki faced legal troubles in 1998 when he was charged with insider trading related to Spectrum Information Technologies, Inc. He ultimately pleaded guilty, paid a $500,000 fine, and was placed on probation.

Aoki's personal life was marked by multiple marriages and family disputes. He married three times and had seven children, including the internationally recognized DJ Steve Aoki and fashion model and actress Devon Aoki. In 2005, he sued four of his children for attempting to gain control of his businesses.

Rocky Aoki was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 1995 and received the Award of Excellence from The International Center in New York.

What was Rocky Aoki's most significant business venture?

Rocky Aoki's most significant business venture was the creation and expansion of Benihana.

What legal issues did Rocky Aoki face?

In 1998, Aoki faced charges of insider trading related to Spectrum Information Technologies, Inc., and he subsequently pleaded guilty, paid a $500,000 fine, and received three years of probation.

What were Aoki's family connections to the entertainment industry?

Rocky Aoki's son, Steve Aoki, is a globally acclaimed DJ and record producer, while his daughter, Devon Aoki, is a successful fashion model and actress who has appeared in various films.

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