Kiyoshi Kimura, president of restaurant chain Sushi Zanmai, has shelled out big bucks again to get his company’s name in the news worldwide.
Kimura made the winning bid for the highest-priced Pacific bluefin tuna at the first tuna auction of the year at Tokyo’s new Toyosu Market on 5 January.
In 2013, a single fish sold for an all-time high of JPY 155.4 million (USD 1.4 million, EUR 1.2 million). Last year’s top tuna sold for a much lower JPY 72 million (USD 663,000, EUR 582,000), as other bidders recognized that Kimura would take the fish whatever their bid. But this year he paid through the nose: JPY 333 million (USD 3 million, EUR 2.6 million).
In interviews, Kimura said he regretted paying such a high price. Indeed, it is the costliest tuna ever bought. The 278-kilogram fish from Oma, Aomori Prefecture, cost JPY 1.2 million (USD 11,060, EUR 9,700) per kilogram – a rate with no relation to the prices that the chain charges in its shops: One nigiri sushi of Pacific bluefin tuna is listed on the menu at JPY 158 (USD 1.46, EUR 1.28). The shop will naturally take a huge loss on the sales, and the purchase is more akin to a U.S. company airing a television commercial during the Super Bowl than to purchasing food ingredients.