The Japanese beef, known in the West as Wagyu (Japanese beef) is produced by 4 breeds. We would like to introduce these breeds to you today.
Miyazaki Gyu that we offer at Umai Wagyu are the best examples of Japanese black cattle.
Japanese Black, Japanese Black Cow (黒毛和種 Kuroge Washu)
The Japanese black cow was mainly used as a “workhorse” before the turn of the 20th century. This breed was improved during the Meiji era by crossing with foreign breeds and certified as native Japanese cattle in 1944. It is raised in most prefectures of Japan, and more than 90% of the wagyu raised and fattened in Japan are of this breed. Fine strips of fat can also be found in lean meat (marbling). The taste of the fat is exquisite, with a buttery, delicate texture that dissolves in the mouth. The slaughter age is 28-30 months with an average Japanese mark of BMS 5.6.
Japanese Brown, Japanese Brown Cattle* (赤毛和種 Akage Washu)
Also known as “Akaushi (Aka =red ushi = beef)”, the Japanese brown cattle is mainly bred in the prefectures of Kumamoto and Kochi. The Kumamoto line is the most common with several hundred thousand copies. The Kochi line has less than two thousand copies and can only be found in Japan. They differ by the dark dots on nose and feet. The more dominant Kumamoto line was improved by crossing Simmental with Hanwoo (Korean red), which was used as a “workhorse” in the Meiji period. It was certified as a native Japanese cattle in 1944. It is characterized by a low fat content of about 12% or less. Since it contains much lean meat, its taste and pleasantly firm consistency is very pleasant. Its fat is also not very heavy, but of fine texture, and has attracted much attention due to its health and its mild taste. The slaughter age is about 25 months, which is due to the lower marbling level of a Japanese BMS 3.2.
Japanese Shorthorn (日本短角和種 Nihon Tankaku Washu)
The Japanese short horn is mainly cultivated in the Tohoku region. This breed was improved by crossing the short horn with the native Nanbu cattle. After that it was continuously improved until it was certified as domestic Japanese beef in 1957. Its meat contains a lot of lean meat and a low fat content and has a mild and hearty taste. It also contains inosic acid (an important metabolic compound) and glutamic acid, substances that improve taste and protein synthesis. The Japanese variety is BMS 3 or lower, but is preferred by many because of its “different” taste.
Japanese Polled (無角和種 Mukaku Washu)
The Japanese Polled is the only Wagyu breed threatened with extinction. The Japanese Polled was made in 1920 by crossing Aberdeen Angus, imported from Scotland, with the native Japanese Black. Afterwards it was further improved and certified in 1944 as native Japanese cattle. It is characterized by a high lean meat content and a pronounced Wagyu taste. It contains a high proportion of amino acids and has a rich, meaty taste. The current population of the Japanese Polled is the smallest of all four races, of which only a few hundred still exist today.