How to Pronounce Wagyu Properly
The word Wagyu is Japanese but pronouncing it in English isn’t hard at all. Although you may hear it pronounced a few different ways around the internet, the most common way can be found at Merriam-Webster Dictionary’s entry for Wagyu.
The first syllable in Wagyu is pronounced the same as the “wa” in water. The second syllable sounds like the “gue” in argue. It’s important to put the stress on the first syllable. It’s “WA-gyu”, not “wa-GYU”.
You may sometimes hear another less-common way to pronounce the word Wagyu. The first syllable is pronounced like “wag” and the second syllable is pronounce “you’. This pronunciation is not found in the dictionary, and while it is commonly understood, many Wagyu aficionados consider it incorrect.
You can hear both pronunciations in this video about Wagyu beef.
How do you pronounce Wagyu in Japanese?
The way people pronounce Wagyu when speaking English isn’t exactly identical to how people would when speaking Japanese. This is because English uses syllable stress while the Japanese language uses pitch accent.
Generally speaking, if you’re talking about Wagyu in a conversation in English, using the English pronunciation is most appropriate.
What does Wagyu mean?
Besides the pronunciation of Wagyu, the literal meaning of the Japanese word is also interesting.
In Japanese kanji Wagyu is written as 和牛. “和” has a few meanings, but here it means “Japanese”. “牛” means cow or cattle. So, Wagyu (和牛) just means “Japanese cattle”.
There are four breeds of cattle native to Japan: Japanese Black, Japanese Polled, Japanese Brown, and Japanese Shorthorn. The term Wagyu often encompasses all four breeds of Japanese cattle. However, in regard to the luxury, fat-marbled that we all crave, the particular breed used for Wagyu beef is Japanese Black.
Japanese Wagyu beef is also categorized by which where it was produced. For example, Matsusaka beef, Kobe beef, and Mishima beef are all Wagyu beef, the cattle were just raised on different ranches in different regions of Japan.
Is the pronunciation of Wagyu important?
No. No matter how you say it, Wagyu beef is the most delicious beef you will ever possibly eat.
However, not all Wagyu beef is created the same. Unfortunately, there are even some companies who try to pass off less-than-authentic Wagyu beef for the real thing.
Here at WAGYUMAN, we offer only authentic Wagyu beef imported directly from top-quality ranches across Japan. To experience Wagyu beef like you’ve never experienced before, check out what we have on offer at our shop.