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[Hidden Wonders of Japan] Massive Bluefin Tuna Sold for Almost $800,000 at Toyosu Auction

The prized bluefin tuna was caught off the shore of Cape Shiriya by a father-son fishing duo from Oma, Aomori Prefecture.



President Yukitaka Yamaguchi (second from left) of wholesaler Yamayuki with the winning bluefin tuna on January 5. (©Kyodo)

On January 5, the first bluefin tuna auction of the year took place at Toyosu Market in Koto Ward, Tokyo. A 238-kilogram (525-pound) bluefin tuna, caught off the coast of Oma in Aomori Prefecture, fetched the highest bid of the day at ¥114.24 million JPY (over $786,000 USD). This marks the fourth-highest rate since records began in 1999.

The first bluefin tuna auction of 2024 at Tokyo's Toyosu Market was held on January 5. (©Kyodo)

The winning bid was a joint effort by the wholesaler Yamayuki based in Koto Ward and the company behind the sushi chain Ginza Onodera. The previous record was set in 2019 after the market relocated from Tsukiji to Toyosu, with a bid of ¥333.6 million JPY (around $2.3 million USD). In 2023, the highest bid was ¥36.04 million JPY ($250,000 USD).

The bluefish tuna weighs 238 kilograms (525 pounds). (©Kyodo)

President Yukitaka Yamaguchi of Yamayuki expressed satisfaction, stating, "Since business has been doing well recently, I had expected the value to reach at least ¥100 million JPY [$689,000 USD]. The decisive factors in choosing the tuna were its freshness and color. I am grateful to the fishermen who caught it in the cold weather."

Regarding the Noto Peninsula earthquake, he stated, "I was torn about whether to abstain from bidding, but I ultimately chose to participate because we also need some positive news."

Fisherman Masayoshi Kikuchi and his son Shoma with their catch on December 31, 2023. (Provided by Masayoshi Kikuchi)

A Dream Come True

The fisherman behind the noteworthy catch is 57-year-old Masayoshi Kikuchi from Oma, Aomori Prefecture. In an interview at his home, Kikuchi shared his surprise, saying, "I'm surprised that my tuna was chosen as the best and also by the price it fetched. It's fulfilling a long-cherished dream, as I was second two years ago and last year."

Masayoshi Kikuchi and his son Shoma on January 5. (©Kyodo)

Kikuchi, with around 30 years of fishing experience, captains the fishing vessel No. 57 Taiunmaru. He and his son, Shoma, caught the prized tuna off the shore of Cape Shiriya in the northern part of Shimokita Peninsula before dawn on December 31, 2023. Reflecting on the catch, Kikuchi said, "We caught a big, high-quality tuna. I hope people enjoy it."


(Read the article in Japanese.)

Author: The Sankei Shimbun

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