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National Wagyu Day – June 21, 2024

National Wagyu Day on June 21 is a celebration of culinary excellence! Whether you’re a seasoned Wagyu enthusiast or a curious newcomer, this day invites you to experience the unparalleled delight of Wagyu beef. It’s also a chance to learn about the distinction between Japanese, American, and Australian Wagyu and to spread awareness about the rigorous authentication process of Japanese Wagyu. The day was founded by dynamic entrepreneur Steve Haddadin because of his love for steak. In 2022, he declared June 21st, his birthday, as National Wagyu Day. Let’s raise our forks, raise a toast, and celebrate.

History of National Wagyu Day

National Wagyu Day was founded by Steve Haddadin in 2022. Haddadin, an avid steak connoisseur, was determined to create a day to celebrate the delicacy of Wagyu and to spread awareness about the rigorous authentication process. Haddadin had his first experience receiving a Wagyu Authentication Certificate at a steakhouse in Columbus, Ohio and it piqued his curiosity. Receiving the certificate led him to the Japanese Carcass Verification Bureau Website, which fascinated him. After learning that there wasn’t a day dedicated to Wagyu, he took it upon himself to declare June 21, which is also his birthday, National Wagyu Day. With the help of restaurants, butchers, bloggers, and the media, he was able to make it official.

“The spirit of National Wagyu Day is special. It welcomes those who are trying Wagyu for the first time and seasoned Wagyu connoisseurs, on Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year, to celebrate the delicacy of Wagyu and to learn about its rigorous authentication process. That also means one thing, more time to enjoy Wagyu,” Haddadin enthuses.

Wagyu, renowned for its marbling and melt-in-your-mouth texture, comes from a breed of cattle originating from Japan.

Wagyu comprises several cattle breeds, including the highly prized Tajima strain, which gives us the famous Kobe beef. Wagyu’s exceptional tenderness, rich flavor, and intricate marbling of fat throughout the meat make it one of the most sought-after beef varieties in the world.

Japanese Wagyu cattle are bred solely as authentic because they’re bred only in Japan. American Wagyu comes from crossbreeding authentic Japanese Wagyu with Angus cattle, and Australian Wagyu comes from the Japanese lineage, which is raised in Australia. The distinction between Japanese and American Wagyu is that imported Japanese Wagyu is usually boneless. Additionally, it always comes with a Certificate of Authenticity.

National Wagyu Day timeline

Pre-1868
A Long History

Evidence suggests that the Wagyu cattle we know today can trace their genetic strain back over 35,000 years.

1868
The Meiji Restoration Popularizes Beef Consumption

Before this, cattle in Japan are used exclusively for agricultural purposes.

1976
Wagyu Bulls are Brought to the U.S.

Four Wagyu bulls are imported from Japan and are bred with the American Angus and Continental breeds.

1988
The Japanese Meat Grading System

The current meat grading system used by the Japan Meat Grading Association is developed, it sets standards for yield grade and meat quality, giving Japan full control of Wagyu beef quality.

1990
Four Superior Cattle Breeds

After decades of crossbreeding Japanese cattle with foreign cattle, four major cattle breeds — Japanese Black, Japanese Brown, Japanese Polled, and Japanese Shorthorn — are recognized as superior and become predominant.

1997
An Export Ban

Japan declares Wagyu cattle a "national treasure" and enacts an export ban.

2022
Steve Haddadin declares National Wagyu Day

Haddadin declares June 21st, his birthday, as National Wagyu Day to celebrate its delicacy and spread awareness about its rigorous authentication process.

How to Verify Authentic Wagyu?

  • Obtain a copy of the authentication certificate. 
  • Visit the Japanese Carcass Verification Bureau website. The website is in Japanese so be sure to translate it to a language you understand if necessary. You’ll need to translate each page you visit, the proceed button does not translate so click on the colored one to proceed to the next page. Locate the cattle identification page and enter the Cattle ID number that’s on your authentication certificate. 
  • Check the lineage information that verifies the beef as registered Wagyu beef. 
  • Grading according to Japanese Wagyu standards includes marbling information, meat color, fat texture and content, and quality of the beef.

National Wagyu Day FAQs

Who founded National Wagyu Day?

National Wagyu Day was declared by Steve Haddadin in 2022. The holiday takes place on the same day as his birthday.

What is the purpose of National Wagyu Day?

The purpose of National Wagyu Day is to celebrate the delicacy of Wagyu and to spread awareness about its rigorous authentication process.

What makes Wagyu so special?

Wagyu beef is much richer in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, and has more monounsaturated fats compared to other beef varieties. These soft fats have a lower melting point, creating an amazing texture and holding so much flavor.

How to Celebrate National Wagyu Day

  1. Host a Wagyu gathering

    Gather your friends and family for a Wagyu BBQ cookout. Grill juicy Wagyu burgers and steaks while enjoying each other's company. There's no better way to savor the rich flavors of Wagyu beef than by accompanying your meal with laughter and good conversation. Make sure to show everyone at the gathering the authentication certificate that you obtained from the butcher to continue spreading awareness about the rigorous authentication process. Also be sure to post and share the love of Wagyu on social media by using the hashtag #NationalWagyuDay.

  2. Visit local restaurants that serve Wagyu

    Visit local restaurants that serve Wagyu dishes. Expand your palate and appreciation by trying everything from Wagyu sushi to Wagyu ramen while supporting businesses. Make sure to ask for a copy of the Authentication certificate to continue spreading awareness about the rigorous authentication process. Be sure to post and share the love of Wagyu on social media by using the hashtag #NationalWagyuDay.

  3. Visit the Japanese Carcass Verification Bureau Website

    Using the 10-digit cattle ID on the certificate you obtained from the butcher or restaurant. This is your chance to look up the details of the Wagyu on your plate and explore the history of the cattle, tracing their origins and the meticulous care they received throughout their lives. Discover the secrets behind the unparalleled flavor and marbling that make Wagyu a culinary treasure. Experience a deeper connection to your meal as you uncover the story behind each savory bite.

5 Fun Facts About Wagyu

  1. Wagyu literally means “Japanese cattle”

    "Wa" translates to Japanese and "gyu" means cattle.

  2. All Kobe is Wagyu but not all Wagyu is Kobe

    Kobe beef is just one type of Wagyu beef that comes from the Tajima strain of Wagyu cattle raised in Kobe, Japan.

  3. The best grade is A5

    The highest possible grade is A5 Wagyu beef: it has the best yield, marbling, color, and texture.

  4. The royal treatment

    Wagyu cattle are raised with the utmost care: they’re fed the best quality food, live in luxurious conditions, receive the best medical care, and even spa treatments.

  5. The Wagyu Olympics

    The Japanese hold a prestigious event called the Wagyu Olympics every five years, where participants vie for top honors in categories like meat quality and breed enhancement.

Why We Love National Wagyu Day

  1. It sparks curiosity and creativity

    National Wagyu Day sparks curiosity and creativity, inspiring chefs and home cooks alike to experiment with innovative ways to showcase the versatility of Wagyu beef. From savory steaks to decadent burgers and beyond, it's a day to celebrate endless possibilities and pleasure derived from this delicacy.

  2. It celebrates the heritage

    It's a day to honor the history and meticulous craftsmanship behind Wagyu beef. It's a wonderful way to recognize the dedication and expertise of those who produce this culinary delicacy.

  3. It raises awareness

    Wagyu beef is one of the most sought-after meats in the world. National Wagyu Day is an opportunity to learn about why it's in demand and it raises awareness about the rigorous authentication process Wagyu beef undergoes.

National Wagyu Day dates

YearDateDay
2024June 21Friday
2025June 21Saturday
2026June 21Sunday
2027June 21Monday
2028June 21Wednesday

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