TOKYO — A giant bluefin tuna fetched a record 32.49 million yen, or nearly $396,000, in Tokyo on Wednesday, in the first auction of the year at the world's largest wholesale fish market.
With the ringing of bells well before dawn, an auctioneer launched into a rapid chant as rubber-boot wearing men signaled subtly with their hands.
The price for the 754-pound tuna beat the previous record set in 2001 when a 445-pound fish sold for 20.2 million yen, a spokesman for Tsukiji market said.
"It was an exceptionally large fish," said the official, Yutaka Hasegawa. "But we were all surprised by the price."
The massive tuna was bought and shared by the same duo that won the bidding for last year's top fish: the owners of Kyubey, an upscale sushi restaurant in Tokyo's Ginza district, and Itamae Sushi, a casual, Hong Kong-based chain.