Christoph Neidhart is the correspondent of the süddeutsche Zeitung in Tokyo, where he lives for nine years. Previously, he was a Visiting Scholar at the Russia Institute of Harvard University and almost eight years as a correspondent in Moscow. Neidhart has published several books, most recently "the Museum of light, Peter Burger Love" and "The noodle, a culture story with a bite".send an email
cops, police in Osaka, has recently arrested two men as unusual as it is precious cargo wanted to smuggle to China: semen from Wagyu. One of the two had previously been at the port of entry in Shanghai by Chinese customs stopped. He had, in addition to the bovine sperm tube 365 plastic with frozen Wagyu embryos in the Luggage. Since he was unable to record a veterinary official certificate, sent him back to the Chinese. In Japan, he was arrested. The accusation: He violated the quarantine law.
As the Wagyu, the word means "Japanese cattle", and apply four different races. You are likely to regardless of the Western cow be in prehistory in Asia to be domesticated. The Japanese used their cattle, however, for thousands of years not only as draught animals. They drank no milk, and were allowed to eat meat. The latter was banned until 1872, officially religious, in fact, but also for economic reasons. Japan had little Land for grazing. In the 20th century. Century were then bred to improve meat performance of European breeds.
Wagyu Beef is marbled and fat than our beef. The fat makes all the difference. With feed the cattle in the last few years, still fat. And, therefore, more tender, with more flavor. Gently fried melts Wagyu on the tongue. It is therefore regarded as Rolls-Royce of the Beef. This is also true for the price: In some countries, Matsuzaka or Kobe can cost Beef up to 400 Euro per Kilo. The Kobe cattle are to be massaged. In Japan, the karnivore layman to eat, but also Wagyu for 50 euros per Kilo. And hardly noticed a difference.
breeders can sperm of the bulls free
Many countries, sell the rules of their Cattle strictly. The veterinary authorities are conducting a breeding book and write, how many cows may be inseminated with the sperm which cops. In Japan, however, a breeder can sell the sperm of his bulls so far. He regularly receive requests from China, quoting Japanese media, a Wagyu breeder.
in 1976, gave Emperor Hirohito, four Wagyu bulls to Hawaii, then Wagyu sold cattle in the USA and Australia. Both countries produce Wagyu and cheaper than Japan. The government has recognized the export potential of beef, only a few years ago. They began to regulate the breeding, ban the Export of genetic material from Wagyu cattle, and declaring them to be "living national treasures". And exported more and more. In 2012, for five billion Yen this year to 25 billion, nearly 200 million euros. At the same time, the number of cattle farmers are going back. Japan imported more beef than it produces Wagyu.
Japan's major Wagyu market is Taiwan. China, where the demand would be large, remained for the Japanese meat previously closed. So, China's farmers are trying to breed their own Wagyu cattle. Especially since they would produce meat cheaper. Recently, several smugglers have been caught, but despite the ban, Japan is not have a legal hand, to punish the cum-Export statement.