Rocky Aoki was a multi-talented personality, a wrestler and restaurateur. The Japanese American was a successful businessman. Rocky Aoki was named by his parents as Hiroaki Aoki whoi, born in Tokyo, Japan on October 9, 1938. He was born to Katsu and Yunosuke Aoki. At an early stage, he started rock and roll band called “Rowdy Sounds”, which he abandoned later.
He joined Keio University, but was expelled from the university due to a fight. At the university, he studied track and field, karate and wrestling. In the year 1960, he was qualified at Summer Olympics in Rome. He later moved to United States where wrestling scholarships were offered to him by American colleges.
He studied at Springfield College, Massachusetts and was later transferred to CW Post College on Long Islands.
Rocky Aoki expired at the age of 69 (July 10, 2008) due to pneumonia and health complications (diabetes and cirrhosis of the liver). He also had Hepatitis C because of blood transfusion he had in the year 1979. His was rested at his birth place i.e. Tokyo, Japan. His grave is at Joshin temple in Setagaya ward. He had four grandchildren at the time of his death.
Rocky Aoki was married trice in his lifetime, His first marriage was with Chizuru Kobayashi Aoki in the year 1964 which lasted for 17 years and ended up in divorce. His second marriage was with Pamela Hilburger Aoki and later got divorced (married in 1981 and divorced in 1991). His third wife, a business woman Keiko Ono Aoki (married in 2002) was his partner till death. Rocky Aoki has seven children, Steve Aoki (DJ/producer), Devon Aoki (model), Kevin Aoki, Jenifer Crumb, Kana Grace Nootenboom, Kyle N. Aoki, Echo V. Aoki.
Aoki started his career with rented ice cream truck in Harlem and side by side he was doing his restaurant management course at New York City Community College. In the year 1963, he received associate degree in management. His ice cream business earned him USD 10,000 with which he started his first a four-table teppanyaki restaurant, Benihana.
Rocky Akoi started his restaurant business in May 1964. Benihana restaurant served teppanyaki-style Japanese food. Though the initial response was not good but later it became a regular food court for celebrity customers such as Burk Bacharach, Sean Connery and Lawrence Welk.
There was no looking back after the success of first restaurant, more Benihana were opened at Manhattan’s East Side (May 15, 1966), Chicago (1968) and San Francisco (1969). Benihana was very popular in 70s and 80. Benihana-Benihana Inc. became publicly traded company in 1987.
Rocky Aoki was a multi-talented man; he was also an offshore powerboat racer. In the year 1979, he was saved by Mr. Lanier in a fatal powerboat crash under the Golden Gate Bridge.
Before his death, he had become a United States citizen. Aoki was the recipient of The International Center in New York’s Award of Excellence.
He was the winner of flyweight title for three consecutive years – 1962, 1963 and 1964. In the year 1995, he was honored by inducting him into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.
How much is Rocky Aoki Net Worth
Rocky Aoki has an estimated net worth of $80 million US dollars. His children, Kevin, Grace, Kyle, and Echo were sued by his father over alleged property control. At the time of this legal battle (2005) his worth was estimated to be USD $60–$100 million.
Aoki, who is best known for Benihana chain of restaurants, was a successful businessman. He had seven children who claimed his companies in his life.