Kagoshima Kuroushi named Japan’s best wagyu at the Wagyu Festival
The National Japanese Beef Ability Expo, also known as the “Wagyu Olympics,” was held for five days in October 2022.
Kagoshima Prefecture took first place in six of the nine judged divisions. In the Breeders' Division, three cows representing Kagoshima Prefecture won the Prime Minister’s Prize, the highest award in the competition, and were awarded the top prize in Japan.
A total of 438 cattle from 41 of Japan’s 47 prefectures participated in this year’s event, which is held once every five years. Each competing prefecture wore matching uniforms and worked together as a team in the heated competition, which is the pinnacle meeting of the wagyu industry. Farmers who have devoted their lives to wagyu showed off the cattle they have been breeding and raising in their quest to become the best in Japan.
The judging in the steers division is based on the steer’s size, firmness, and shape, as well as growth. The steer’s face is an important indicator of the steer’s quality and is judged in detail, with aspects such as “flat and broad forehead,” and “eyes that are bright and gentle” achieving good marks. Appearance is important as it is connected to longevity and the calving interval. Moreover, the more “beautiful” the animal is, the more economically viable it is.
We’d like to introduce a couple who are veteran livestock farmers on a small cattle farm in Kagoshima Prefecture. Haruo Miyazono, 87, and his wife, Musubi, 83, raise five cows in a wooden barn that is more than 60 years old.
Haruo, who has devoted 62 years of his life to his cattle, participated in the Wagyu Olympics for the first time in October 2022 and won the top prize in the event’s 5th division, in which three generations of cattle are evaluated.
In the division’s final qualifying round, the cattle were judged on their excellent breeding ability and improvement with each passing generation based on their body shape and other factors. All three of Mr. and Mrs. Miyazono’s cows were rated highly in terms of growth, volume, and dignity.
Speaking of the barn on his small farm, Mr. Miyazono said: “Even in our kind of barn, cattle can grow up well. If you raise them with love, they will thank you.” His wife said: “I have never wanted to quit raising the cattle. They are just so cute.” The couple added: “This is the best day of our lives! Tonight we might drink shochu,” referring to Kagoshima Prefecture’s signature sweet potato-based alcohol.
At this Wagyu Olympics, hosted in Kagoshima Prefecture, the best of the best wagyu farmers from around the country gathered for this once-in-every-five-years event. The farmers were all smiles as they gave it their all with their beloved cattle.
Kagoshima Prefecture’s wagyu, the best wagyu in Japan, is called Kuroushi (literally Kagoshima black beef). Why not come and try it in Kagoshima when you visit Japan!