|The Wagyu Breed
History in Japan
|Originally draft animals,
Wagyu were used in agriculture selected for their physical endurance.
This physicality made for a more flavorful and therefore more desirable
animal, as it contained additional intra-muscular fat cells. This marbling
provided a better source of energy for human consumption.
Japanese Wagyu derive from native Asian cattle. There is some evidence of genetic separation into the Wagyu strain as much as 35,000 years ago. There were infusions of British and European breeds in the late 1800s, but the Wagyu were closed to outside genetic mixing in 1910.
The variation of conformity within the Wagyu breed is greater than the variations across British and European breeds. These differences have produced a Japanese national herd comprising 90% black cattle with the remainder being red.
Wagyu History in the US
America received a shipment of 4 fullblood sires from Japan to the USA in 1976.
1976 - First importation of Wagyu to the US by Morris Whitney of Texas. Compromised of 4 bulls, 2 Akaushi (Kumamoto red) Rueshaw (Japanese Akaushi National Champion) Judo, 2 Wagyu, Mazda (Tottori) Mt. Fuji (Tajima)* there was two pedigrees submitted for Mt. Fuji at the time of importation, his pedigree is still in doubt (Dr. David Lunt Texas A&M Article Record Stockman March 12, 1993). The bulls were sent to Colorado State University for collection. They were later bought by Wagyu Breeders Inc.
Fullblood Females Imported
1993 Importation of 5 head from Japan (2 bulls, Michifuku & Haruki II; and 3 females, Okutani, Rikitani & Suzutani; by New Era Genetics Ltd.).
1993 Wagyu-sired steers win Grand Champion, "Pen of Steers" at the Western Fed Beef Contest, Denver, CO; by Maverick Ranches (additional win in 1999).
1994, August JVP imports 17 head (4 bulls; Kikuyasu 400, Fukutsuru 068, Yasutanisakura 931 & Hirafuji 402; and 13 females.)
1994, September There were a total of two bulls (Kenhanafuji - Takazakura) and four females (Okahana - Nakayuki - Kanetani - Nakagishi 5) plus the 4 calves that were born from these four cows (Tanitsuru - Kanetsuru x Kanetani, Nakazakura - Itomichi x Nakagishi 5, Kitaguni Jr. - Kitaguni 7-8 x Nakayuki, and Reiko - Kitaguni 7-8 x Okahana).
The shipment also consisted of three bulls (Shigemaru - Tamamaru - Hikari) and nine females (Akiko - Haruko - Fuyuko - Namiko - Ume - Naomi - Dai 9 Kobai 73 - Dai 3 Namiaki - Dai 8 Marunami) plus the five calves that were born (Kaedemaru - Dai 10 Mitsumaru x Dai 3 Namiaki, Momigimaru - Namimaru x Naomi, Big Al - Dai 10 Mitsumaru x Dai 8 Marunami, Female - Namimaru x Dai 9 Kobai).
From the Red Wagyu shipment, the animals Naomi, Dai 3 Namiaki, Kaedemaru, and Momigimaru made their way up into Canada after the required 180 days in the USA.
1995 Takeda imports 45 head (5 bulls; Itomichi 1-2, Kikuhana, Itohana 2, Kinto & Teratani; plus 40 females.)
1997 Mannet imported 1 bull (Yasufuku Jr.) and 7 females (Taguchi 9 - Nakahana 5 - Mitsutaka - Okuito 9 - Hanateru 9 - Rabito - Hisako) plus the calves (Taguchifuku - Yasufuku x Taguchi 9, Kotomichan - Tanifuku Doi x Mitsutaka, Kousyun - Yasufuku x Okuito 9).
1998 Westholme imports 3 bulls (001 Hirashige -Tayasu, 002 Itomoritaka, 003 Kitateruyasu DOI) and 84 females.
2001 Takeda Imports 6 more fullblood sires.