At 5:30 a.m., a bell clanged at Tsukiji fish market, marking the start of its famed auction of frozen tuna.
An auctioneer, swaying with a unique rhythm, soon began calling out the price of the fish per kilogram in a thick voice: "1,100 yen!" "1,200 yen!"
Tuna, referred to as "omono (big items)" at the market, are symbols of Tsukiji, which deals in about 480 kinds of fish. The catches are shipped in from around the world, from the waters off Tahiti in the southern Pacific Ocean to those off Angola in Africa.
Takakuni Sugiyama, 33, has worked as a broker at the market for 13 years. "You never see the same tuna twice," he says. After successfully bidding for omono, the fish were carried to an intermediate wholesaler's market by cart.
As the auction drew to a close, an auctioneer in the vacant auction site murmured, "I feel sad the market will be gone."
(Japanese original by Kentaro Mori, City News Department)
* This series introduce scenes from the last days of the Tsukiji wholesale market in Tokyo's Chuo Ward, which is scheduled to end 83 years of history when it closes for relocation to the new Toyosu site in the capital's Koto Ward on Oct. 6, 2018.