In 2013, a bidding war drove his record winning bid to 154.4 million yen (at today's exchange rates about $1.3 million) for a 222-kilogram (490-pound) fish.
That drew complaints that prices had soared way out of line, and the winning price in 2014 was dramatically lower. Last year, a 180.4-kilogramme (380-pound) tuna caught off Japan's northern region of Aomori fetched a winning bid of 4.51 million yen ($37,480).
Japanese eat about 80 percent of all bluefin tuna caught worldwide, and stocks of all three bluefin species — the Pacific, Southern and Atlantic — have fallen over the past 15 years amid overfishing.
But while the new year and daily tuna auctions are Tsukiji's best-known events, the market is about much more than just tuna.
On a recent year-end day, shop owners in rubber boots and aprons were rushing to clean up and sell off the last of their inventory, as the last few hundred shoppers milled around hunting for bargains.
Already, some shops outside the market have been razed and a new building that will house a smaller "outer market" is under construction.