Hiroaki Aoki – Rocky Aoki – Founder of Benihana, Olympic wrestler

Founder of BenihanaHiroaki Aoki (October 9, 1938 – July 10, 2008) was a former Japanese Olympic wrestler (He qualified for the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome, but did not compete.).

He is better known in the United States by his Anglicized name, Rocky Aoki under which he founded in 1964 the Benihana chain of "Japanese Steakhouse" restaurants.

He is also the father of supermodel and actress Devon Aoki, and Dim Mak Records CEO Steve Aoki.

He was an offshore powerboat racer along with the 1986 APBA world champion Powerboat throttleman Errol Lanier, a former Fort Lauderdale, Florida fireman who saved his life in a near fatal powerboat crash in 1979 under the Golden Gate Bridge.

He faced deportation from the United States over a conviction for tax evasion. Celebrity columnist Cindy Adams asked her readers to send letters on his behalf to the government, and ultimately he was granted relief by the immigration judge (unlike fellow businessman, Peter Gatien, who was deported in 2003).

Before his death, he had become a U.S. citizen.

Mr. Aoki is the recipient of The International Center in New York’s Award of Excellence.

Rocky Aoki’s Death
Rocky Aoki is died of Cancer. Rocky Aoki was 69 year old at the time of his death.

Rocky Aoki on TV commercial, 1985

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