Bluefin tuna sells for ¥16.88 mil. at Tokyo fish market

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Officials check the condition of bluefin tuna before the hatsuseri New Year auction early Wednesday morning at the Toyosu wholesale market in Koto Ward, Tokyo.

A 211-kilogram bluefin tuna from Oma, Aomori Prefecture, took the top price of ¥16.88 million early Wednesday morning at the hatsuseri New Year auction at the Toyosu wholesale market in Tokyo.

A bell rang shortly after 5 a.m., kicking off the auction at the wholesale fishery building in Koto Ward, where 1,291 fresh and frozen tuna were lined up. Middlemen in masks quickly signaled with their hands, bidding on the tuna one after another.

“I want many people to enjoy the delicious tuna and have a year of good fortune,” said Akifumi Sakagami, executive chef of Sushi Ginza Onodera, in Chuo Ward, Tokyo. The top-priced tuna was to be served at his restaurant.

In 2019, a bluefin tuna sold for a record ¥333.6 million at the New Year auction, while the highest price for a bluefin tuna at the 2020 auction was ¥193.2 million.

However, last year’s auction was dampened by the slowdown in demand for food services caused by the spread of the novel coronavirus. The highest bid at 2021’s first auction was just ¥20.84 million, and this year’s top price was ¥3.96 million below the 2021 figure.