Prior to 1898, beef consuming culture was not exist in Japan, and all the cows were raised to use mainly for their labors and logistics. It was until Meiji era (around 1898) that Japan started to initiate international diplomatic relationship and open the door for foreign culture, as well as the people to come visit Japan and the culture of consuming beef has begun since then, started from the big cities where foreigners resided. In 1944, Japan certified the first three varieties of their cows as “Wagyu”, which are “Kuroge” (Japanese black hair), Japanese brown hair, and hornless Japanese cow.
In Japan, the Kuroge Wagyu for consumption is consisted of female cow, male cow that
has been castrated, cross breeding female cow (normally, Kuroge with milk breeding cow), and cross breeding male castrated cow. The best quality and the top rank in terms of taste and price is female Kuroge that never been pregnant (pregnancy and conceiving can greatly reduce the quality of Wagyu beef).
Wagyu meat scoring system that is widely known as “A5, A4, A3” and so on, has been set up and regulated by Japan Meat Grading Association. The scoring standard of each Wagyu is based on “Yield Grade” and “Quality Grade”. The yield grade is measured by the ratio of beef quantity that can be consumed compare to the weight of the cow, and it can be rank from A to B and to C. As for quality grade, it will be measure by the level and quality of fat spreading throughout the Wagyu beef and will be rank between 1 to 5 (5 is the highest ranking). The quality of fat spreading is based on Beef Marbling Standard (B.M.S.), Beef Color Standard (B.C.S.), and Beef Fat Standard (B.F.S).
We select the best and “real Wagyu”, focusing on only Kuroge, female cow that never been pregnant, with the ranking of only A4 and A5, without paying too much attention to just a brand name of Wagyu.
In Japan, we can divide Wagyu farmers into two types, one is those who purchase a calf (baby cow) from farm breeder and take care and develop a calf into a healthy matured Wagyu, while the other raise the cow into Wagyu since first born in-house. Almost all of the widely known brand of Wagyu such as Matsuzaka Gyu, Omi Gyu, and Miyazaki Gyu are the later type where all the Wagyu is raised since young calf by their respective farmers.
It is impossible for any brand to focus only in producing A5 grade Wagyu since as mentioned earlier. If only focus on the A5 grade, there will be significant shortage in Wagyu availability in the market. Therefore, any brand of Wagyu, including those such as Matsuzaka Gyu, or Omi Gyu, will produce Wagyu at least to cover the range of A1 grade to A5 grade.