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Jan. 25, Sun.*This program was first broadcast on Mar. 21, 2013


Japan today is home to 4.17 million cattle. 2.7 million are classified as beef cattle, and two-thirds of these are classified as wagyu. There are 4 unique Japanese wagyu breeds, which were created by crossbreeding older Japanese breeds with larger foreign ones. Wagyu is known for its distinctive web of marbling. This tender, melt-in-your-mouth beef can be enjoyed in many ways, including sukiyaki, shabu-shabu, and as steak. Every 5 years, a competition known as the Wagyu Olympics is held to find out which Japanese prefecture breeds the finest wagyu cattle.

On this edition of BEGIN Japanology, our theme is wagyu. We'll reveal the relationship the Japanese have with cows by looking at how this world-famous beef is produced.