The Wagyu Origin
The name ‘Wagyu’ means Japanese cow. ‘Wa’ stands for Japan and ‘gyu’ for cow.
For centuries, the Japanese were mainly fish eaters. They only kept their cattle for working in the rice fields and for transportation in the mines and forests. Therefore, the Wagyus were bred for their muscle power and stamina and needed to be tame.
This was the case until the ‘shoguns’ (Japanese military) discovered that the soldiers became stronger by eating Wagyu beef. After the Japanese wars, meat-eating became a habit of the Imperial Court. The cattle served up at that table underwent special prior treatment. They were massaged and given beer, among other things, as part of their feeding regime.
The Emperor’s soldiers took this habit back with them to their villages. In this way, the Japanese fish kitchen gained new impetus. Wagyu beef became renowned for its extraordinary taste and healthy qualities, because its beautifully marbled tender meat is full of unsaturated and – therefore – healthy fats.
Modern research has shown that this beef is very suitable for a reduced cholesterol diet.
In 1975, the University of Washington received genetic material from Japan to research the attributes of the Wagyu. In this way, the animal appeared outside Japan for the first time. Via Australia and New Zealand, the Dutch breeders also became passionate about this special animal with its tasty and healthy meat and interesting history.
‘Het Koeienhuis’ is one of these breeders.