Rocky Aoki


Birthday October 9, 1938

Birth Sign Libra

Birthplace Tokyo, Japan

DEATH DATE Jul 10, 2008 (69)

#126989 Most Popular

Numerology: 4


Multi-talented and exceedingly accomplished entrepreneur, champion wrestler, world record holder, and celebrity father who is perhaps best known for founding the Benihana chain of teppanyaki restaurants. He was also the creator of Genesis, a successful men's pornographic magazine that remained in publication for nearly 40 years.

Before Fame

He attended several colleges on wrestling scholarships including Springfield College and CW Post College. In 1962, '63, and '64, he won consecutive US flyweight wrestling titles. He studied restaurant management at NY City Community College while working 7 days a week in an ice cream truck that he rented. After earning an associate degree in management, he used his savings from the business to persuade his father into becoming a co-investor in the 1st Benihana.


He earned The International Center in New York's Award of Excellence. In the year 1995, he was also conscripted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. In the year 1981, he helped fund and crew the 1st successful balloon expedition across the Pacific Ocean, in the "Double Eagle V."

Family Life

He was the son of Yunosuke and Katsu Aoki. His family is said to have descended from a Wakayama Prefecture-based samurai clan. He had 7 children by 3 different women. He first married Chizuru Kobayashi Aoki in 1964. They remained wed until their divorce in 1981 - the same year he married his 2nd wife, Pamela Hillburger Aoki. In 1991, the couple split and he eventually married his 3rd and final wife, Keiko Ono Aoki, in 2002, with whom he remained until his passing 6 years later. Just a few years before his death, he was involved in a bitter legal feud with 4 of his 7 children (Grace, Kevin, Kyle, and Echo) over the management of his family trust. Two of his other children include the world-famous DJ Steve Aoki and model/actress Devon Aoki. Model and singer-songwriter Yumi Nu is his granddaughter.

Associated With

He founded Genesis Magazine in August 1973, which regularly featured contributions by columnists Marilyn ChambersTera Patrick, and Carmen Luvana.