It’s among the biggest of Japan’s many New Year holiday rituals: Early on Tuesday, a huge, glistening tuna was auctioned for about 14 million Japanese yen ($118,000) at Tokyo’s 80-year-old Tsukiji market. Next year, if all goes as planned, the tradition won’t be quite the same.
The world’s biggest and most famous fish and seafood market is due to move in November to a massive complex further south in Tokyo Bay, making way for redevelopment of the prime slice of downtown real estate.
The closure of the Tsukiji market will punctuate the end of the post-war era for many of the mom-and-pop shops just outside the main market that peddle a cornucopia of sea-related products, from dried squid and seaweed to whale bacon and caviar. The auction is typical of Japan’s penchant for fresh starts at the beginning of the year — the first visit of the year to a shrine and the first dream of the year are other important firsts — and it’s meant to set an auspicious precedent for the 12 months to come.
Sushi restaurateur Kiyoshi Kimura has prevailed in most of the recent new year auctions, and he did so again this year in the bidding for a 200-kilogram (440-pound) tuna. Read more