Hiroaki “Rocky” Aoki
Pop Culture News

FX Networks Developing Series on Benihana Founder Hiroaki ‘Rocky’ Aoki from Jon M. Chu & Steve Aoki

FX Networks is developing “American Hiro,” a dramatic series that chronicles the life and family of Hiroaki “Rocky” Aoki, the legendary entrepreneur and original daredevil businessman who in 1964, as a recent American immigrant, created Benihana Inc., the first American restaurant empire of foreign cuisine. The series chronicles Rocky’s larger-than-life exploits as an Olympic wrestler, professional speed boat racer, hot air balloonist, and nightclub impresario, while examining his complicated relationships with his wife, parents, children, and, perhaps most of all, his cultural identity, reconciling his Japanese heritage with his outsized American dreams.

The project hails from director Jon M. Chu, who is executive producing with Caitlin Fiotoon behalf of Electric Somewhere, alongside musician and executive producer Steve Aoki. They are joined by writer/creator Jonathan Abrams, who will also executive produce. 20th Century Studios is producing for FX.

The series is based in part on the book Making It in America: The Life and Times of Rocky Aoki, by Jack McCallum.

“I don’t think I could be more grateful and excited to team up with my friend, the legend Jon Chu, to tell the story of my dad Rocky,” said Steve Aoki. “I have spent years dreaming of the day when I get to properly share my dad’s incredible life with the world. He is my hero and inspired me to live my own life to the fullest.”

The project also has the support of the wider Aoki family, including Devon Aoki, who will also serve as executive producer.

Chu’s Electric Somewhere Co. will produce alongside Five All in the Fifth Entertainment, which originated the project. Five All’s Douglas Banker, Electric Somewhere’s Caitlin Foito, and YMU Group’s Matt Colon and Dougie Bohay, managers for Steve Aoki, will all executive produce.