Sushi Restaurant CEO Defeats Pirates, Sets Tuna Records

Sushi Restaurant CEO Defeats Pirates, Sets Tuna Records

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Kimura Kiyoshi with giant fish
The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images
Sushi restaurant CEO Kimura Kiyoshi second-bests his own record and earns online love - complete with re-enactments of some of his greatest exploits.

Last year, Tokyo’s famous Tsukiji fish market relocated to Toyosu, ending its 80-year tenure in the same location. Even though the new auction site still left in place many of the same outdated practices, it was still a big change for all the businesses involved.

And now, 2020 has just seen the end of its first auction in the Toyosu fish market. Not only is it significant by being the first, but also by the price that a certain maguro (bluefin tuna) was purchased at 193,200,000 yen ($1.78 million), the second-highest price ever.

The Man Behind the Money

The person who purchased the maguro at that record price was Kimura Kiyoshi, the president of Sushi Zanmai, a sushi restaurant chain. The maguro weighed in at 276 kilograms (608 pounds), priced at 700,000 yen per kilo.

Kimura has a penchant for setting records. Last year, at the first auction after the fish market moved to Toyosu, he destroyed the previous record set in 1999 by purchasing a 278-kilo maguro for 333,600,000 yen ($3.07 million). With that setting him firmly in first place, his recent purchase has put him in second place as well.

Known as the “King of Maguro,” Kimura had this to say about his win:

“There’s a lot of great maguro this year! [The one I purchased] was the best. I want my customers to enjoy lots of delicious maguro!”

When asked if he had hoped to buy the fish at a lower price, Kimura laughed, saying: “I just want the best for my customers. I’ll work my hardest this year!”

‘幻焉の使徒’✙シン=ジガディラス=ウル=ヴァラギオン on Twitter

@PICPICNINJIN000 @five1996 NHKにすしざんまい言わせなてくれない社長さん可愛すぎてすこwww

Here’s a video of Kimura, showing his enthusiasm right off the bat by saying, “If you want Sushi, then come to—.” NHK, Japan’s public broadcaster, cut off the name of his restaurant right after that so as to not advertise. However, his smile says it all.


Wait… What About Pirates?

Company president Kimura doesn’t just confine his love of fish to Japan. He’s expanded it overseas as well. Back in 2012, he was particularly interested in the yellowfin tuna off the coast of Somalia. However, due to all the piracy in the area, fishing was nearly impossible.

So Kimura tried something that no one else had up to that point: talking to the pirates. Here’s what he said on the subject:


When I asked, no one had spoken to the pirates. I thought that was strange. I mean, they’re human, just like we are. So I had a meeting with them right away, and I found out they didn’t even like pirating or anything. I suggested that they catch maguro instead, make a proud living for their families that way.


Of course change is easier said than done. They didn’t even have the technology or ships to catch maguro. So I had no other choice: I brought four of my own ships. We taught them how to fish, how to preserve the catch in the freezer, and linked the Somali government to IOTC (Indian Ocean Tuna Commission). My company bought the maguro they caught, and we made the trade routes safe. Together, through maguro fishing, we made life better for everyone.

すしざんまい社長が語る「築地市場移転問題」と「ソマリア海賊問題」 (2016年1月18日) – エキサイトニュース

ニュース 国内 経済 株式 すしざんまい社長が語る「築地市場移転問題」と「ソマリア海賊問題」  ’01年に第1号店を東京・築地場外市場に「 すしざんまい 本店」をオープン。現在では北海道から九州まで、51店舗を展開。その多くが年中無休24時間営業で、本格的な寿司を手ごろな価格で楽しむことができるという、それまでの寿司屋の常識を覆したのが、 株式会社 喜代村の木村清社長だ。 …

(JP) Link: Sushi Zanmai’s CEO Speaks on the Tsukiji Market Move and Somalian Pirate Issues

Thanks in large part to Kimura’s assistance, damages from Somali pirates have been virtually nonexistent since 2015. That’s the true power of tuna!

Online Appreciation

Ever since Kimura’s record-setting purchase at the Toyosu market, Japanese people have been posting their appreciation for him on the Internet.

This Tweet shows the record-setting tuna thinking to itself: “Crap, it’s no good. No matter how many bids there are on me, that Sushi Zanmai president is gonna win.”

シルバニア大使 on Twitter

すしざんまい社長、初競りで本マグロを1億9320万円(1キロあたり70万円)で競り落とす。 知られざる社長の偉業をわかりやすく解説 #大人のシルバニア #すしざんまい

This tweet shows Kimura’s venture into Somalia and helping fix the pirate problem through four panels of cute stuffed-animal photos. The tweet reads: “An easy-to-understand explanation of the great exploit from the not-well-known-enough president.”

Twitter / Account Suspended

From breaking news and entertainment to sports and politics, get the full story with all the live commentary.

And finally, another tweet showing off a bunch of other characters, from Kemono Friends to Gundam, posing in Kimura’s favorite position.

If you’re interested in trying some of the record-setting maguro for yourself, it was planned to be made available at the Tsukiji Sushi Zanmai store. Just be sure to brush up on your fish kanji before you go!

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Scott Wilson

Scott lives in the countryside of Gifu Prefecture, where he works as a translator, writer, and editor. His first book Metl: The ANGEL weapon was published this year. In his free time he can be found re-reading One Piece for the hundredth time, playing Magic: The Gathering, and dreaming about Shakey's Pizza.

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