On Thursday morning, Kiyoshi Kimura, whose Kiyomura Co. runs the Sushi Zanmai chain, paid 74.20 million yen for a 212-kilogram maguro tuna from Aomori Prefecture.
It was Kimura’s sixth-straight year of snagging the first fish on auction, a celebratory start to the New Year for the market, which is a popular destination for tourists. In 2013, his bid of 155.4 million yen for a 222-kilogram fish is the highest on record.
For this year, the final price represented 350,000 yen per kilogram of the fish, a figure five times over that of last year. Kimura, known as the “Tuna King,” conceded that the price “was a little high.”
“If there are no competitors, [the price per kilogram] will reach 20,000 yen or 30,000 yen. Everyone fought and the got higher,” said Kimura of this year’s auction.