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Tuna King: the 6-time Winner of Annual Tsukiji Tuna Auction

Kiyoshi Kimura, nicknamed tuna king, placed an astonishing 74.2 million yen bid (around 636,000 USD) for a 212 kg tuna at this year’s Hatsuseri, the first tuna auction held in Tsukiji Market on 5 January every year. What else has he done to earn his kingdom? Find out more about his reign here at Japan.com!

The Tuna King

tuna king posing beside his statue of his signature pose outside sushi zanmai in tokyo

Kiyoshi Kimura is his name, and tuna bidding is his game. As the owner of Kiyomura, a sushi restaurant chain company, Kimura has been a prominent figure at Tsukiji since he won his first bluefin tuna in 2012’s Hatsuseri, which customarily puts the biggest tuna available up for auction. In the following five years, he dominated Hatsuseri, spending an exorbitant amount on the year’s largest tuna, and even a record-breaking 155.4 million yen (around 1.76 million USD then) in 2013. With so much dedication to winning the first and biggest tuna of the year, no wonder he is referred to as the tuna king.

The King’s Restaurants

front door of the main shop of sushi zanmai chain restaurants in tokyo

Kimura established Kiyomura in 1979 and opened his first sushi restaurant named Sushi Zanmai at Tsukiji in 2001, which further developed into a chain of 51 stores famous among locals and tourists alike. The stores are particularly busy right after the first tuna auction is over; the tuna Kimura wins is always divided and sent to other stores for customers around the country after it is first tasted at the main store. What’s surprising is that the items on the menu stay at the same price (398 yen or 3.5 USD for a piece of tuna sashimi) despite the astronomical amount the store owner pays for the giant fish. So if you want to grab a bite of the biggest tuna fish each year, don’t miss out at Tsukiji in January!

Hurry up, though, Tsukiji Market is going to disappear soon! This year’s Hatsuseri might have been Tsukiji’s last before it moves to its new site at Toyosu, but you can still visit and see the smaller tuna auctions held every day at the market.

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