As we enter the barbecue season, that tiny lovely sliver of a season stuck between “o-hanami” and the rainy season, the question on everyone’s mind is: What is Kobe beef? And what could make Kobe beef so special that people willingly pay over 10,000 yen for a steak?

I was with a Japanese friend, eating at one of our favorite Japanese restaurants, when I decided to ask her, “What is Kobe beef?”

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.