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OUR

HISTORY

Mar. 8th

1937

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The Beginning

Nihonbashi has been the major financial district in the center of Tokyo for centuries. This is where the legacy of Benihana began when Yunosuke Aoki opened “Ellington”, an innovative jazz music cafe. At this cafe you could enjoy your coffee while listening to jazz music, which was hip and a modern concept in Japan at the time.

Spring

1943

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Hungry for Sweetness

During World War II, it became nearly impossible to obtain coffee beans in Tokyo. Yunosuke felt that people were in need of something to lift their spirits and thought that sweets could lighten their preoccupied minds. He rented the vacant shop next door and opened a Japanese O-shiruko (Japanese sweet red bean soup with mochi) shop, called Nihonbashi.

Mar. 10th

1945

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Tokyo Fire Bombings

As the War in the Pacific began to escalate, the Nihonbashi area was decimated by the firebombing raids of Tokyo and Yunosuke seemed to have lost everything. He worked hard to keep both of his shops running but was later drafted to work at a factory in Kamata, a small town. Both shops were burned to the ground.

Oct. 18th

1945

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A Single Red Flower

World War II had come to an end and Yunosuke returned to Tokyo. While he visited the spot where the shops used to stand, he reminisced and the sound of jazz music revived his motivation to start over and rebuild. As the story goes, his wife Katsu, found a lone red flower resiliently blooming among the burned down ruins which gave them hope to persevere. With Aoki’s determination, they rebuilt the shop and called it Benihana (Red Flower).

Nov.

1947

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From Sweets back to Coffee

After the war ended, coffee was once again imported and coffee shops began opening here and there. Yunosuke remodeled and reopened the business as a coffee shop called Benihana.

May 1st

1950

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Benihana Inc.

Within a year after the grand opening, Benihana became one of the most popular coffee shops in Nihonbashi, thanks to the efforts of Yunosuke and the staff. He decided it was time to establish Benihana as a corporation.

Oct. 12th

1950

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Restaurant Benihana

With the success of the coffee shop, Yunosuke yearned to expand. He renovated part of the second floor of the coffee shop into a restaurant. The following year, the entire second floor was converted into a restaurant and continued to be successful. This business became his main restaurant called Benihana, this marked the beginning of his venture into the restaurant business.

Oct.

1955

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Barbecue Benihana to Benihana Bekkan

As the company began to grow, Yunosuke opened an office in Nihonbashi across the river from Benihana. He also expanded his company into other ventures and opened a bakery, a laundry factory and a farm. Then in 1955 Yunosuke opened Barbecue Benihana, across the street from his main Benihana restaurant. Barbeque was renovated in 1962 and renamed Benihana Bekkan (Bekkan which means Annex) with Teppanyaki on the first floor and Japanese style western food on the second floor. This is the Benihana Bekkan that is still currently in operation to this day.

Dec.

1956

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The Advance to Ginza

Yunosuke’s restaurant business was gaining momentum. Ginza, a very desired area for businessmen and merchants, was his next move. In 1956, Yunosuke purchased an existing restaurant on Ginza 6 Avenue (Ginza Roku-Chome). He began a major 4 month renovation and opened Benihana Ginza.

Apr. 6th

1964

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Crossing The Pacific

Business was now booming and Yunosuke could finally achieve his dream of expanding his business to the United States. At the time, travel and foreign currency exports were restricted. However, Yunosuke began by sending his sons to the U.S to study and research locations for a restaurant. After four years of research, he found a property in Manhattan, New York and renovated the interior to portray a traditional Japanese farmhouse. BENIHANA OF TOKYO opened in 1964 as a teppanyaki restaurant where chefs would grill in front of the customers with performance and skill.

Aug. 29th

1986

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Head Office Building Completed

His business was steadily growing. There were now nearly 20 restaurants in Japan. The Head office in Nihonbashi was in need of updating and expansion, so plans to build a new office began. After more than a year of construction, the 9-story Benihana office building was completed.

Spring

2004

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AOKI Tower

The Benihana Ginza branch was closed in 1997 and had temporarily become a parking lot. On this site, Benihana Company built a 9 story building and named it Aoki Tower.

 
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COLUMN

Story of Cocotte Curry

In 1990, a Sri Lankan part-time kitchen employee at Benihana Bekkan made a staff meal of curry with Sri Lankan spices. It soon became a favorite with the staff and caught the attention of the head chef.

This part-time worker had an associate working in the Sri Lankan embassy who was contacted by the head chef. Together they improved the soup curry creating something unique from Sri Lankan or Japanese Curry. From repeated trial and error and trying new spices and ingredients they created this soup curry. It is served in a glazed ceramic cocotte and has been a customer favorite for over 30 years.

Originally, there was the chicken cocotte curry and later,  the seafood cocotte curry and shrimp cocotte curry were introduced. Since then, there have been many variations and we plan to continue to experiment and expand on this favorite dish. Our spicy Sri Lankan cocotte curry has become one of  the most popular and essential dishes at Benihana Bekkan.

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MEDIA

TELEVISION

2018

  NTV「BAGUETTE」

 

2018

  FUJI TV「Minna no News」

2017

  NHK「Asa Ichi」

2015

  NTV「ZIP!」

  TV ASAHI 「Ikinari! Ougon Densetsu」

  TV ASAHI 「Matsuko & Ariyoshi no Ikari Shintou」

  TBS「N Sta」

2014

  TV ASAHI 「Super J Channel」

 

2013

  FUJI TV「Mezamashi TV」

 

2012

  NTV「news every.」

 

2011

  TV TOKYO「Takeshi no Nippon no Mikata」

2009

  TV TOKYO「Sekai wo Kaeru 100nin no Nihonjin」

  TV ASAHI「Wide! Scramble」

MAGAZINE

2018

  Sampo no Tatsujin

2017

  Tokyo Eki Machi

  Hail Mary Magazine

 

2016

  Monthly Nihombashi

  Chokopura Nihombashi

  Nihombashimo

  Tokyo Eki Machi

 

2015

  Office to

 

2014

  Karakute Umai Meshi Zukan

  Monthly Nihombashi

  UOMO

2013

  Monthly Nihombashi

  Puratto TOWN

  dancyu

2012

  Tokyo Warker

 

2011

  Hanako

  TOKYO Umai Nikuryori

  Weekly Gendai

 

2010

  Tarzan

 

2009

  Hitoride Ikeru Joushitsu Gohan

  Sampo no Tatsujin

  GINZA

 

2007

  STORY

 

2002

  Monthly Nihombashi

 
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COMPANY

OVERVIEW

Company Name:Benihana Inc.

Location:

1-1-3  Nihonbashi Muromachi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo  Benihana Bldg. 9F

 

Capital:52,125,000 yen

 

Founded:March, 1937

 

Established:May, 1950

 

CEO:Eba Fujino

 

Business description:

Restaurant business, Real estate leasing

Affiliate:Benihana Shoji Co., Ltd.

Restaurant

 BENIHANA - Teppanyaki & Yoshoku

1-2-15, Nihonbashi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo

Real estate

 Benihana Building

1-1-3, Nihonbashi Muromachi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo

 AOKI Tower

6-3-7, Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo

CONTACT

For inquiries please call directly to the desired restaurant.

Thanks! Message sent.

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