Back in January last year, Kiyoshi Kimura set the record for the most expensive tuna purchase, throwing down a whopping $3.1 million USD at Tokyo’s Tsukiji Fish Market. Though not as extreme as last year’s record-breaker, this year’s hatsuseri, the first wholesale fish auction of the year, saw another big purchase of $1.75 Million USD at the Toyosu Fish Market, marking the second-highest purchase in history.
Once again, the buyer was Kiyoshi Kimura, CEO of the popular sushi chain Sushizanmai, which prides itself as the “King of Tuna.” It’s worth noting that such a high-scale auction actually only lasts for a few minutes. Most of the time is spent examining the quality of the fish and estimating the fatty grade of the meat as well as its flavor. It’s only after this where the auctions begin: bidders make silent hand gestures denoting the amount they’re willing to drop as the auctioneer rolls through the totals. Usually, Kimura can be seen at the front of all the action, but this auction saw him calling on one of his representatives to take over the bid.
Prices during the first wholesale auction of each year in Japan are typically regarded as the most important of the year. This often results in “outbidding” for prized fish, purchasing them for above their normative value to reign in and celebrate the new year. This in turn, gives the bidder a variety of press and media opportunities that further advertise their restaurants.
— 朝日新聞 映像報道部 (@asahi_photo) January 5, 2020