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Pair of Yubari melons fetch Y2.5 million

31 Comments

A pair of Yubari melons sold at auction in Hokkaido on Friday for 2.5 million yen, one of the highest prices ever paid for the fruit. Last year, the highest price paid was 1.6 million yen for a pair.

A local fruit product company snapped up the two melons at the high-end fruit and vegetable sale, which took place on the first day of the season for the prestigious melons.

In a country where a single apple can cost more than 500 yen and a presentation pack of 20 cherries sells for over 10,000 yen, Japanese shoppers are used to paying high prices for their fruit.

But the eye-watering figures paid at the Sapporo Central Wholesale Market reflect buyers' desire for prestige.

Yubari melons are considered a status symbol in Japan like a fine wine, with many buyers presenting them as a gift to friends and colleagues.

The best-quality Yubari melons are perfect spheres with a smooth, evenly patterned rind. A T-shaped stalk is left on the fruit, which is usually sold in an ornate box.

© Japan Today/AFP

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31 Comments
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Just 2.5 arena seats at the cancelled Sir Paul concert!

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

It's that time if year again when fools part with their money.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

But the eye-watering figures paid at the Sapporo Central Wholesale Market reflect buyers’ desire for prestige.

Do they actually believe it is prestigious to buy fruits for ridiculous prices? I'm not sure which is worse, the ridiculous prices or the fools that buy them.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Readers, please do not refer to the buyers as fools.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Do they actually believe it is prestigious to buy fruits for ridiculous prices?

It's prestigious to those who believe it to be so. And the fact that they keep selling for these prices every year means that there is a group of people who believe it to be prestigious. The purchasers are likely looking for prestige from this group, not from you.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I think they buy those expensive fruit under company's social expenses.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

This is absolutely ridiculous. No vegetable is worth this much money it's food for god sake!

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Definitely have a bitter taste in my mouth had I paid that much.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Finally, some good news for the Yubari economy.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I'd love to get my hands on a pair of those melons.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Amazing what people will pay to be 'the first' to get something, even though that ultimately means asbolutely nothing. The worst part is that a lot of people here consider 'expensive' to be a positive meaning adjective, and that the more people are tricked into paying for something that should be a couple hundred yen, the more 'umai' it will be. I'm always reminded by this kind of thing of the variety show where they put Yubari melon on one plate, then the regular 600 yen melon on another as a taste test, and only half of them got it right which was which (they also did Hokkaido crab vs. crab flavoured pollock, etc.). I guess if they are rich, all the power to them, but imagine what good they could have done in the world with that money instead of simply buying two melons worth literally very little.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

It's prestigious to those who believe it to be so. And the fact that they keep selling for these prices every year means that there is a group of people who believe it to be prestigious

Is it really an issue of prestige in a pref. that had gone bankrupt?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

"This is absolutely ridiculous. No vegetable is worth this much money it's food for god sake!"

So, what you're saying is, the buyers are fools, no?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Is it really an issue of prestige in a pref. that had gone bankrupt?

What does the prefecture in which they were grown have to do with the prestige (or lack of)?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Must be SOME melons! A perfectly matching pair!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

"This is absolutely ridiculous. No vegetable is worth this much money it's food for god sake!"

So what does that say about the people who buy them?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I've noticed that the purchasers of this grossly overpriced fruit are usually companies - not individuals.

I'm convinced it's just a marketing exercise to get lots of local publicity.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Sounds like Japan is experiencing a melon variation of the Dutch craze for tulip bulbs in the 1630s. Prices were sky high - people paid sums for a single bulb that would buy a luxury home. Then the bubble market collapsed. I love cantaloupe but it's so easy to get delicious cantaloupe at any grocery store, can't imagine paying vast sums for something that is nice for breakfast or as part of a fruit salad at a picnic.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

A local fruit product company snapped up the two melons at the high-end fruit and vegetable sale, which took place on the first day of the season for the prestigious melons.

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Sounds the company bought for its marketing strategy, not for eating. I agree with Bill Adams.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I've noticed that the purchasers of this grossly overpriced fruit are usually companies - not individuals. I'm convinced it's just a marketing exercise to get lots of local publicity.

No, really?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It would be good if the proceeds of the one-off auction went to local charities, hospitals or schools. This is done in "First-of-the-season" auctions back in Aus, and is a nice touch.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

An increase of over 50% from last year's bid. Does nobody find that strange? I'm probably reading too much into it, but something like this reeks of the Japanese agricultural industry trying to push their agenda of, "See? We can make enough money by ourselves. Japan is #1!"

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It already brought publicity. More tourists to Hokkaido?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Maybe they're just very tasty and nice-looking melons, and people have enough money to buy them?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

as long as i have money to part im fine with buying this favorite fruit of mine.. but not this expensive. lol

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I think this whole thread got thrown off kilter by the very first comment. Paul McCartney was not charging $12,000 per ticket, and since all the tickets have to be refunded, their price--in fact as low as 1500 yen at Budokan-- was irrelevant to the sale of these melons.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

A local fruit product company purchased, not one person. Probably put them in a display refr ? In the end, the company employees can eat a slice. Are they as big as watermelon?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It's too bad that Japanese farmers can't mass produce fruits for the average consumers. What is the point of producing few super fruits to sell to the few super rich? Is it "Japanese melons and fruits are best in the world" idea? Why can't they produce a $1.00 melon or $2.00 strawberry container that anyone can enjoy? I feel sorry for the Japanese consumers on the street who could only enjoy fruits and melons and beef steaks on special occasion. I guess the idea is to keep the super rich and politicians happy.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

If there is no expensive products that will be purchased by super rich, super rich will be super super rich. As for this melon, it was purchased by a company, not by super rich. i don;t believe only expensive food flood in super markets in Japan. Melon? There are other delicious fruits, Some people prefer banana that is easy to peel.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

It's too bad that Japanese farmers can't mass produce fruits for the average consumers

Tom Webb,

I'm glad they don't. The super expensive stuff is not normal. Normal fruit is two to four times higher than in the US, but the quality is usually better, and fruit that is hard enough to be used as a weapon is not sold. The US has good apples in the orchards, for example, but the cheap stuff in chain groceries is often a step above cardboard, and Japanese grocers would be embarrassed to sell it. Meanwhile, prices on veggies are about the same as the US, especially once you get out of Tokyo. In any case, people here, for the most part, prefer delicious food to cheap food.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

here we go again JA getting the PR propaganda machine going again. we wouldnt want the J public to think that high quality fruit and veg can and should be cheap and affordable. but then again only the gullable would be fooled

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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