Wagyu refers to all Japanese beef cattle (“Wa” meaning Japanese and “Gyu” meaning Cattle). Although, the Wagyu breed was not developed out of the necessity for beef. They were developed in Japan for the purpose of mechanizing the farming industry as draft animals. They were brought over to the United States in the mid 1970s, and have since been bred for their unsurpassed quality and taste.
Between 1976 and 1997, fullblood Wagyu were exported from Japan to the U.S. In 1997 after exporting close to 200 cattle, Japan put the export ban (for live cattle) back in place and fullblood Wagyu were no longer exported. Today, Wagyu beef connoisseurs throughout the U.S. are aware of the beef’s superior taste and quality and utilize much of the domestic fullblood Wagyu production.