This is a Benihana Logo Vase (sometimes called a mug) in the shape of a safflower. These flower vases are used as table decorations in Benihana restaurants. Height: 8 inches.
Right after the Second World War, Benihana founder Rocky Aoki’s father, Yunosuke Aoki, a samurai descendant and a popular Japanese entertainer, together with his wife Katsu, opened a small coffee shop in Tokyo, and a red safflower found growing in the neighborhood streets gave the Aoki’s the inspiration for the restaurant’s name: Benihana, which in Japanese means “red flower.”
Today, that red safflower is used as the Benihana restaurant chain’s corporate logo, seen left, and that logo has been forever immortalized as flower vases that are used as table decorations in the restaurants.
Oddly enough, these are made in Peru, of all places, and, because they have the word Benihana on them, we see them mistakenly listed on eBay as Benihana Tiki Mugs all the time, so we just want to go on the record here to state:
NO, it is NOT a mug, it’s a VASE!!
The funny thing is that while the real mugs are often mistakenly called a vase, this one, which is a real vase, is often mistakenly called a mug! Go figure!
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