Is All Beef In Japan Wagyu

The Three Major Beef Brands

In order to demonstrate the stringent requirements that must be met in order to be labeled as “branded beef,” we will utilize the three main Japanese beef brands as examples in this section. This will clarify why premium beef brands cost so much!

Matsusaka Beef (松坂牛) requires that the meat be from a heifer of the Kuroge breed, that it be registered in the Matsusaka Cattle Individual Identification Management System, and that it be primarily raised in designated Matsusaka beef production areas (if not born in these areas, then the heifer must have moved there within a year of birth).

Kobe Beef (神戸牛): ・The steer or heifer must be born and raised in Hyogo Prefecture.※The meat quality and yield grades must be A4, B4, or higher.※The beef marbling standard is No. 6 or more ・ Edible meat weight requirements for heifers and steers are 230–470 kg and 260–470 kg, respectively. ・ If any edible meat is flawed, it must pass an evaluation established by the Kobe Beef Marketing and Distribution Promotion Association.

Yonezawa Beef (米沢牛) ・The breeder must be a resident of one of the five designated cities or three specified towns in the Okitama region of Yamagata Prefecture and hold a certification from the Yonezawa Beef Brand Promotion Council. ・The (mother) cows must have lived most of their lives in a registered slaughterhouse. ・The meat must come from a heifer of the Kuroge breed; the heifers must be slaughtered at the Yonezawa Beef Market, Tokyo Meat Market, or the Yonezawa Meat Center. ・The meat must be graded using the Japan Meat Grading Associations system. ・The heifer can only be slaughtered at least 32 months after birth. ・The meat must have a grade of 3 or above, with excellent appearance, meat quality, and marbling.

Now that you know the distinctions between Wagyu and ordinary Japanese beef, are you more knowledgeable about Japan’s Wagyu beef grading system?

Please remember that people have different preferences when it comes to flavors and textures, so the grading system only assesses the beef’s appearance and quality and does not guarantee the taste.

To determine your favorite Japanese beef variety, try comparing various types and grades! For this process, we suggest referring to the guide below, which provides a detailed explanation of all the various beef cuts available at Japanese yakiniku (BBQ) restaurants.

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As of the time of publication, the data in this article is correct.

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Is All Beef In Japan Wagyu

Origin edit Wagyu show in

At the Hanaizumi Site in Ichinoseki City, Iwate Prefecture, fossils of an extinct wild bovine known as Hanaizumi Moriushi (Leptobison hanaizumiensis) were found in 1927. The animals lived during the Paleolithic period, some 20,000 years ago. A bison-like species, the Hanaizumi Moriushi is thought to be closely related to the steppe bison (Bison priscus) lineage. Additionally, fossilized Aurochs (Bos primigenius) bones have been discovered in Ichinoseki City. These animals originated in Hokkaido because Hokkaido and Honshu were landlocked by the Eurasian continent during the Ice Age.

Furthermore, small amounts of projectile points made from polished wild cattle bones have been discovered at the same location, indicating the presence of humans during this time and the hunting of aurochs and hanaizumi moriushi.

However, there is a persistent belief that cattle were brought to Japan from the Korean peninsula by the toraijin, a group of people who arrived in Japan in the middle of the 5th century during the Kofun period. Some members of the Japanese archaeological community are still doubtful about the existence of cattle in Japan during the Yayoi period. Cow bones thought to be from the fifth century were found during excavations at the Nango-Ōhigashi site in Gose City, Nara Prefecture. Excavated in Asago City, Hyogo Prefecture, are the remains of a cow-shaped haniwa (clay figurine) from the late 5th century, which is thought to be the oldest in Japan. Furthermore, an excavated cow-shaped haniwa was found in the Hashida No. 1 Tumulus was built in the first half of the sixth century in Tawaramoto Town, Shiki-gun, Nara Prefecture, and was named an Important Cultural Property of Japan in 1958.

However, recent genetic research has revealed significant genetic differences between Wagyu and Korean cattle (Hanwoo and others). The two main lineages of livestock cattle are the northern lineage (Bos taurus) and the Indian lineage (Bos indicus). Wagyu and Korean cattle are members of the northern lineage and do not include any Indian lineage, such as Zebu cattle.

Nonetheless, with respect to mitochondrial DNA sequence haplogroups, haplogroup T4%20 (East Asian type) is predominant in the Wagyu (Japanese Black) at roughly 65%, whereas haplogroup T3%20 (European type) is predominant in Korean cattle at 66–83%.

T3 is the most common haplogroup in European cattle, but T3 is also more common in Korean cattle. T4 is a haplogroup specific to East Asia that is not found in Near Eastern, European, or African cattle. This indicates that the Wagyu cattle breed is not primarily descended from the current Korean cattle breed.

Furthermore, haplogroup P has been identified in approximately 2046 percent of the Japanese Shorthorn has been identified in numerous extinct European aurochs, but of the thousands of individuals in the database, it has only been discovered in three living livestock cattle—two Korean and one Chinese.

Although P has not been found in Shorthorns and is believed to be derived from the Nanbu cattle, the Japanese Shorthorn was created by crossing Shorthorns and other breeds imported from the United States with Nanbu cattle bred in the former Nanbu Domain territory in northeastern Japan (present-day Iwate Prefecture).

Iwate Prefecture has fossilized Hanaizumi Moriushi and Aurochs, but it’s unclear if the Nanbu cattle were related to these species. Although haplogroup P is much less common than T4 in cattle, it has been detected in Chinese and Korean cattle. Thus, it is proposed that there is no single ancestor of Wagyu cattle and that the ancestors of the Nanbu cattle have a different origin from the ancestors of the Japanese Black in western Japan, where T4 is abundant.

Wagyu beef grades edit

The quality of meat is indicated by beef grades, which are set in Japan using the “Beef Carcass Trade Standards” that were approved by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries. The yield grade and the meat quality grade are the two grades that are utilized to calculate the rating.

There are three grades for the yield grade: A, B, and C. A is the highest grade. There are five grades for meat quality: 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1. The highest grade is 5.

There are fifteen different ways to grade beef: A1 through A5, B1 through B5, and C1 through C5, which combines the two grades. A5 represents the highest quality in terms of both yield and meat quality grades.

The yield grade is a measure of a cow’s percentage of edible meat. Four factors determine the grade of meat quality: marbling, color, firmness and texture, and quality and luster of the fat. [71].

Beef Grades

Yield Grade Meat Quality Grade
5 4 3 2 1
A A5 A4 A3 A2 A1
B B5 B4 B3 B2 B1
C C5 C4 C3 C2 C1