Wagyu were originally draft animals used in agriculture and were selected for their physical endurance. This selection favoured animals with more intra muscular fat cells – marbling – which provided a readily available energy source. Japanese Black Wagyu derive from native Asian cattle.
There were infusions of British and European breeds in the late 1800’s but the breed was closed to outside influence in 1910. Realising the value of their unique product the Japanese Government banned the export of Wagyu and declared them a national treasure! Some ‘escaped’ by fair means or foul!
The first Wagyu arrived in America in 1976 in Australia in 1990 and in Europe in 1996.
We are still playing catch up!