Bluefin is big in Japan

In fact, just about a year earlier, it was announced that a 754-pound bluefin had sold for nearly $396,000 at the first auction of the year at Tokyo’s famed Tsukiji wholesale fish market. It eclipsed the former record set when a 445-pound bluefin sold for $246,861 in 2001.

Well, the new record didn’t last long. The first auction of the new year at the Tokyo fish market brought the sale of a 593-pound bluefin for a staggering $736,000.

Care to try some of this historic tuna? You’d best have a healthy limit on your credit card because you’ll drop $1,238 a pound for the privilege.

Perhaps you only need to taste but a slice of the deliciously fatty and tender tuna to sate your bluefin appetite. Well, should you pop into one of Tokyo’s top sushi bars, it’ll cost you $24 per piece of bluefin heaven.

Should that still prove too pricey for your budget, you could instead sample tuna sushi from the record-setting bluefin. It’ll only cost you $5.45 a piece.

One might wonder why a bluefin that wasn’t as big as last year’s whopper commanded so much more money. Is the meat from this year’s record-setting bluefin of superior quality, thus commanding a substantially higher price?

Perhaps, but according to a story that appeared in the Orlando (Fla.) Bulletin, one reason for the high price is the celebratory atmosphere that accompanies the first auction of the year at the Tokyo market.

But what’s even more fascinating is that the article notes that the buyer, Kiyoshi Kimura, president of Kiyomura Co., which operates the Sushi-Zanmai restaurant chain, felt it was important to give his country’s morale a boost after last March’s punishing tsunami. Kimura, it was reported, said he couldn’t let the tuna, which was caught off northeastern Japan, be sold to another country.

Hence, he plunked down $736,000 for the bluefin. That, boys and girls, is a man who truly loves his country.

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