Record US$3.1 million paid in New Year’s tuna auction at Japan’s new market


TOKYO: A record US$3.1 million was paid for a giant tuna on Saturday (Jan 5) as Tokyo’s new fish market, which replaced the world-famous Tsukiji late last year, held its first pre-dawn New Year’s auction.

Bidding stopped at a whopping ¥333.6 million for the enormous 278kg fish – an endangered species – that was caught off Japan’s northern coast.

Sushi entrepreneur Kiyoshi Kimura paid the top price, which doubled the previous record of ¥155 million paid in 2013.

“I bought a good tuna,” the self-styled “Tuna King” said after the auction.

“The price was higher than originally thought,” he added.

Tsukiji – the world’s biggest fish market and a popular tourist attraction in an area packed with restaurants and shops – moved in October to Toyosu, a former gas plant a bit further east.

Bidding on tuna at Tokyo's fish market (pictured October 2018 at its reopening) stopped at at a
Bidding on tuna at Tokyo’s fish market (pictured October 2018 at its reopening). (Photo: AFP/Toshifumi Kitamura)

Tsukiji, which opened in 1935, was best known for its pre-dawn daily auctions of tuna, caught from all corners of the ocean, for use by everyone from top Michelin-star sushi chefs to ordinary grocery stores.

Especially at the first auction of the new year, wholesalers and sushi tycoons have been known to pay eye-watering prices for the biggest and best fish.

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