Japanese Man Pays $29K for 2 Melons, Plans to Give Them Away

They must have been some nice melons.

By Ethan L. Johns
May 30, 2018

Image: Jiji Press/AFP/Getty Images

Imagine the juiciest, sweetest, best-tasting piece of fruit you’ve ever eaten. Now imagine three beefy stacks of hundred-dollar bills. Does one of these things equal the other?

A bidder at this past weekend’s wholesale market auction in Sapporo, Japan, seemed to think so.

On Saturday, Shinya Noda, president of fruit and vegetable packing company Hokuyu Pack, dropped a cool 3.2 million yen ($29,400) for two Yubari melons—a sum that broke the previous record of 3 million yen.

Noda told Japanese news outlet The Mainichi that he was purchasing the melons in honor of his company’s 30th anniversary, and wanted to set a new record for the fruit “by all means.”

The Yubari King melon is an appellation-protected breed of cantaloupe that must be grown in Yubari, which is located to the east of Sapporo on the island of Hokkaido. The melon is grown in greenhouses, and is graded based on sweetness by the Yubari Agricultural Cooperative Association.

While Yubari King melons regularly fetch prices that equal anywhere from $50 to $100, the nearly $30,000 paid over the weekend is more representative of the honor and status that comes with buying the first product of the season. This occurs most famously with the year’s first bluefin tuna auction (this year’s auction saw an 892-pound fish draw a winning bid of 36.45 million yen, or $323,000).

The season’s first 507 melons, now auctioned and sold, will remain on display until the end of May. Once his melons have been delivered, Noda intends to slice them up and share them with his clients.

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About Ethan L. Johns

Ethan is the Food News Writer at Genius Kitchen. An expert on the Parisian bistrot, he likes bitters and salted butters, and is no fan of dessert unless it's made with fruit. His hobbies include reading up on the history of borscht and attempting to roll perfect couscous by hand. Twits & Instagram @EthanLJohns