Japan ‘Tuna King’ buys new year catch for USD1.8 million

TOKYO (AFP) – A celebrated Japanese sushi businessman, nicknamed ‘Tuna King’, paid USD1.8 million for a giant tuna at New Year’s auction at Tokyo’s main fish market yesterday.

Kiyoshi Kimura, who runs a successful sushi restaurant chain, paid JPY193 million (USD1.8 million) to purchase a 276-kilogramme bluefin tuna, caught off the Aomori region in northern Japan.

“This is the best,” Kimura told reporters after the pre-dawn auction.

“Yes, this is expensive, isn’t it? I want our customers to eat very tasty ones this year too,” he said.

Media-savvy Kimura regularly pays top price at the first auction of the year at the Japanese capital’s main fish market, making himself and his business a fixture in national news during this season.

In last year’s new year auction, Kimura paid a record USD3.1 million to win a 278-kilogramme tuna.

President Kiyoshi Kimura (C) of Kiyomura Corp, the Tokyo-based operator of sushi restaurant chain Sushizanmai, poses with a sword before slicing up a bluefin tuna the company bought for JPY193.2 million (USD1.8 million) at auction at his main restaurant in Tokyo yesterday. PHOTO: AFP