Five days into the New Year, the popular Sushi-Zanmai chain established a new record for the price paid for a bluefin tuna, during the first auction of the year at Tokyo’s Tsukiji central fish market.
The company run by Kiyoshi Kimura paid Y56.49 million ($736,000 USD) for a 269 kilogram bluefin tuna, nearly double than the previous record, Y32.49 million, set last year at the same market.
The new record value paid at this year’s auction would set a whooping $50 price for a single slice of sushi, at $210,000 per kilogram. The owner is suspected to have paid such a high price to prevent “foreigners” from buying the first tuna of the year.
Despite the high price, the winning bidder will sell the fish much cheaper, at about Y418 ($5) a slice, even if it means losing money, according to local media.
The best tuna available should go to Japanese customers, not overseas, said Kimura. Last year, the record tuna was bought by a sushi restaurant in Hong Kong.