• Kyodo

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A black-rind watermelon grown in Hokkaido drew a ¥300,000 bid Monday in the year’s first watermelon auction.

The bid for one of the 110 premium Densuke watermelons, a signature product of the town of Toma, matched the top bids fetched in both 2011 and 2012.

The successful bidder at the Asahikawa market was Shunichi Anzai, 33, who operates a supermarket chain.

“I placed the ¥300,000 bid as this year marks the 30th anniversary of Densuke production. After displaying the watermelon at one of my outlets, I will invite my customers to bid for it,” Anzai said.

A farming cooperative in Toma said it plans to ship 67,000 Densuke melons this year, with each expected to retail for about ¥5,000.

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