Japanese sushi tycoon pays record $3.1m for single bluefin tuna at new year auction

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Monday, 06 January 2020 09:56

JAPAN: Kiyoshi Kimura, who owns a chain of

sushi restaurants paid the huge sum for a 278kg bluefin tuna caught off the coast of northern Japan's Aomori prefecture, at Tokyo's famous new year fish auction. 

The previous record was $1,4, also paid by Mr Kimura in 2013. The sushi tycoon had spent the most on a single fish at the auction each year from 2012 to 2017.

Having lost the record to a rival restaurant at last year's auction, he was determined to reclaim his prize.

"I bought a good tuna," Mr Kimura said. "The tuna looks so tasty and very fresh, but I think I did too much.

"I expected it would be between 30 million and 50 million yen, or 60 million yen at the highest, but it ended up five times more."

The auction was the first since the historic Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo closed down and moved to a new site, at a former gas plant in Toyosu.

It is the largest wholesale fish market in the world and at its annual new year auction buyers compete to lay down extravagant prices for prized fish to grab headlines and status.

Ordinarily, a similar-sized tuna would sell for only US$ 61,459, but Mr Kimura regularly pays huge sums at the new year auction in part to drum up publicity for his Sushi Zanmai chain of restaurants.

The price at the predawn auction was nearly 10 times higher than the price paid at last year's auction.

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