Feature

Japan's 'eye-popping' $736,000 bluefin tuna: By the numbers

The world's most expensive tuna recently sold at Tokyo's storied Tsukiji fish market  — and, thanks to its buyer's charitable spirit, has yielded surprisingly affordable sushi

Call it sushi philanthropy: At 2012's inaugural tuna auction in Tokyo's famed Tsukiji market, Japanese sushi magnate Kiyoshi Kimura paid an "eye-popping" $736,000 for a giant bluefish tuna — then sold it to his disaster-ravaged compatriots at a steep loss. "It is not just about the money," said Hiroshi Umehara, a spokesman for Kimura's Sushi-Zanmai restaurant chain. "It is also about the Japanese spirit." After a year of earthquakes, tsunamis, nuclear meltdowns, and economic contraction, "Japan needs to hang in there," Kimura added. Here's a look at this very expensive, patriotic "boost of umami morale," by the numbers:

$736,000
Record-breaking price paid for the Japanese-caught bluefin (56.49 million yen)

593
The mammoth fish's weight, in pounds

$1,238
Price per pound, also a Tsukiji record

$416,000
Previous record price for a tuna, sold to a Hong Kong restaurateur at Tsukiji's first auction of 2011

$153,000
Average price of tuna sold during Tsukiji's first-of-the-year auctions, over 15 years

10,000
Number of pieces into which Kimura's $736,000 tuna was cut for sushi

$24
Price each choice piece of fatty "o-toro" bluefin sushi can typically fetch in Tokyo

$74
Price at which Kimuru would have to sell each piece of bluefin sushi to break even

$5.45
Price at which his restaurant chain Sushi-Zanmai sold each piece

$600,000
Kimura's estimated financial loss from the bluefin

80
Percentage of the world's bluefin that Japan consumes

125
Per capita amount of fish the Japanese eat each year, in pounds

38
Global average per capita amount of fish consumed each year, in pounds

500
Number of visitors who trek to the vast Tsukiji market at 4 a.m. each day to watch the tuna auction

43
Number of football fields that could fit inside Tsukiji

Sources: AFP, Bloomberg, MSNBC, TIME

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