Kobe beef: fact vs. fiction
Kobe cows are fed beer. False. Yoshinori Nakanishi says this myth started 30 years ago when a restaurant did a promotional stunt in which a Tajima cow was fed beer.
Kobe cows get regular massages. False. "If I massaged my herd of 170," says Nakanishi, "I'd have no time left for sleep."
Kobe cows listen to classical music. False. Nor do they listen to any other genre.
Kobe beef is sold outside Japan. False. No authentic Kobe beef is exported, mainly because of limited supply. Some restaurants abroad offer a cross between Wagyu and Angus cattle, which may amount to a Kobe-style beef.
There is no way to be certain that a piece of Kobe beef is genuine. False. This can be checked, using the 10-digit serial number that each animal has been issued, which can be checked on the Kobe Beef Marketing and Distribution Promotion Association's Web site: www.kobe-niku.jp
U.S. basketball player Kobe Bryant is named after Kobe beef. True. (And not vice versa.) The story goes that Kobe's father saw the item on a menu, thought it sounded cool and gave the name to his son. That has not, however, stopped Bryant from suing the city of Kobe because he feels the beef's name harms his own brand.