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ODD-Japan-PriceyMelo 06-06

Black Japanese watermelon sold at record price

AP Photo TOK102

By TOMOKO A. HOSAKA

Associated Press Writer

TOKYO (AP) — A jumbo black watermelon auctioned in Japan on Friday fetched a record $6,100, making it one of the most expensive watermelons ever sold in the country.

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In a society where melons are a luxury item commonly given as gifts, the watermelon’s hefty price tag followed another jaw-dropping auction last month, when a pair of "Yubari" cantaloupe melons sold for a record $23,500.

The 17-pound, black-skinned "Densuke" watermelon, a variety grown only on the northern island of Hokkaido, was purchased Friday by a marine products dealer who said he wanted to support local agriculture, according to Kyodo News agency.

The price was the highest on record for a Densuke watermelon, said Kazuyoshi Ohira, a spokesman for the Tohma Agricultural Cooperative in Hokkaido. Most retail at department stores and supermarkets for a more modest $188 to $283, Ohira said.

And what makes a watermelon worth $200, much less $6,000?

Ohira says it’s the unusual black skin and unparalleled taste. "It’s a watermelon, but it’s not the same," he said.

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