A Japanese produce-packaging mogul bought the Yubari melons as a PR stunt

By Mike Pomranz
May 30, 2018
Photo by Jiji Press via Getty Images

Everyone has experienced some level of buyer’s remorse at one point or another. But some purchases definitely seem less sensible than others. Take the Japanese businessman who, on Saturday, spent well over $29,000 on two cantaloupes. Yes, we’re talking about the same melons that—even uncut—can have a shelf-life of about a week.

To be fair, Shinya Noda—the man behind the seemingly insane bid—knew exactly what he was doing. Though the cantaloupes in question, specifically known as Yubari melons, are highly prized, his massive bid was more about grabbing people’s attention than anything else. “I wanted to make a record-setting bid by all means,” Noda, the president of Japanese produce-packaging company Hokuyu Pack, was quoted as saying after the auction. Breaking the previous record was also meant to celebrate his company’s 30th anniversary. Think of it as melon-based advertising.

So in the end, Noda bid up the two Yubari melons to 3.2 million yen, besting the previous record of 3 million yen for a pair of similar melons set back in 2016. According to the AFP, Yubari melons are judged by their shape, which should be as perfectly spherical as possible, as well as their rind, which should be smooth an evenly patterned. Still, the pair of record-breaking melons were simply the first auction out of a group of 507 melons shipped from eight different farmers in Yubari. According to the Independent, Yubari melons will normally sell for somewhere in the neighborhood of $50 to $100.


Meanwhile, what do you do with two melons that each cost about as much as some cars? Believe it or not, very little. Japan’s The Mainichi reports that the melons will be put on display until the end of the month (which, mind you, is coming up very quickly), after which they will be cut into pieces and given away to customers for free.