Japan new year bluefin tuna auction doubles 2022 bid

TOKYO, 5 Jan 2023:

A bluefin tuna was sold for ¥36.04 million (US$273,000) at the traditional new year auction at the Toyosu fish market here today.

The price paid for the 212kg fish was more than double the record amount (¥16.88 million) paid last year for a bluefin tuna and is the sixth largest sum paid at Tokyo’s main wholesale market since data collection began in 1999.

Onodera Group and Japanese wholesaler Yamayuki made the highest combined bid to get the giant tuna.

The business group owns a chain of sushi restaurants that has a Michelin star to its name.

The fish was caught off Oma in northern Aomori prefecture, known for bluefin tuna, sometimes called “black diamonds” due to their high value.

“I wanted to create some positive news as the coronavirus pandemic gradually eases. The price is just right for the first sale of the season,” said Yamayuki head Yukitaka Yamaguchi.

Akifumi Sakagami, the head chef of Ginza Onodera, thanked “those who delivered this wonderful tuna.”

“The people who eat it will definitely be satisfied.”

In 2019, a 278kg bluefin tuna sold for a record ¥333.6 million in the first auction of that year.

The auction was the first to be held in Toyosu after the fish market was moved there from its previous location in the nearby Tsukiji ward.

Going to the tuna auction was one of the big tourist attractions in Tokyo, but since the opening of the new facilities and the arrival of the pandemic, there have been hardly any visits.