Wagyu beef vs. Kobe beef
The term ‘Kobe beef’ has a protected status in most countries that respect international trademarks. Japanese Tajima cattle that are raised in the Hyogo-Kobe region in Japan, and registered with the Hyogo prefecture Kobe Beef Agriculture department can be officially recognized as Kobe beef. Wagyu cattle, on the other, hand means Japanese cattle in general. There are several different cattle breeds in Japan and each and every Japanese breed of cattle can be called wagyu beef, because all of those beef cattles are Japanese beef. For example, Tajima cattle is a Japanese cattle breed, therefore if we call Tajima Kobe Beef wagyu, it would be accurate. There are several Japanese Wagyu Breeds such as Matsuzaka Cattle, Fukushima Cattle, Akaushi Cattle, Tajima Kobe Cattle...etc. All of these cattle breeds are called wagyu beef cattle. However, Japanese Kobe beef wagyu is the most famous internationally.
Japanese Kobe beef wagyu cattle farmers raise their Tajima cattle in a very traditional ways. These farmers are getting older and the next generation is not interested taking over their parents cattle business. The product demand is increasing, and supply is dwindling. Each year only 3,000 cattle are produced by the traditional farmers, on top of that limited general supply, only 200 to 500 cattle have a marbling grade of 10 to 12 which is the highest marbling level.