Sushi entrepreneur Kiyoshi Kimura, also known as Japan’s “Tuna King”, has won at Tsukiji’s famous fish auction once again.
Kimura, the head of Japan’s Sushizanmai chain, paid more than a whopping $600,000 for a 212-kg (467-lb) Bluefin tuna at the first auction held at Tokyo’s Tsukiji fish market, according to AsiaOne. Based on the price he paid, a single piece of tuna sushi would cost around $85, 25 times more than the $3.40 price he charges at his 51 stores spread all over Japan.
“I feel it was a bit expensive, but I am happy that I was able to successfully win at auction a tuna of good shape and size,” said Kimura.
The “Tuna King” was able to transition his successful chain into a national brand by paying massive amounts of money at Tsukiji’s first auction every year. Kimura has won six straight times including this year – which is also essentially and strategically used for publicity.
His most expensive purchase by far was a bluefin tuna he won at the same auction against a rival bidder from Hong Kong. He paid an eye-watering $1.8 million at the New Year’s auction held in 2013.
Although the prices look very intimidating, Kimura makes sure that he gets the most out from his purchase. To spread the word and place the spotlight on his business, Kimura announced on Japan’s major TV networks that the bluefin tuna will be cut and distributed among his many restaurants.
“As always, I want to buy the best one so that our customers can have it. That’s all,” Kimura said.
According to Daily Mail, the 2017 fish auction could be the last one at Tsukiji – the world’s largest fish market.
The event was supposed to be moved in another location in November of last year but it was put on hold because of toxic contamination concerns at the new site. Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike said that the move could be delayed until spring of 2018, but all plans remain indefinite.