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Premium Kobe beef, Yubari melons get brand protection

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I love Yubari's melons! Oh wait, we're talking about fruit, sorry.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It is not really clear who is recognising these items. By mentioning champagne and Gorgonzola and the World Intellectual Property Organisation it gives the impression it is a world body but it also seems like it is just the Japanese government.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

for the Yubari melons, its pointless. Yubari is a ghost town.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I wasn't too impressed with the Kobe beef I tried. Maybe it was a letdown after all the hype I heard.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

The government king makers. I now knight you sir melon of Hokkaido. Your tax dollars hard at work.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

They should make CoCoIchiban Curry as a "protected product". Absolutely delicious!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

So vendors will just sell similar melons as "yubari-poi" melons, or something like that. There are plenty of other delicious melons that don't cost a fortune. Paying over 1000 yen for a melon is ridiculous.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Where are the farms in Kobe?

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Where are the farms in Kobe?

Extremely relevant question. It seems that a certain organization in Kobe will gain the right to give place a "Kobe Beef" label on beef that is essentially raised elsewhere in Japan. That's what this is all about. And such geographic indications are, of course, no guaranty of quality. There are no quality specifications that are part of this process. So essentially consumers are given the privilege of paying extra for "Kobe Beef" to the particular organization in Kobe. For producers too, it's an offer they can't resist.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

It's kind of like protecting whaling when nobody wants or eats the product -- just more protectionism to prop up dying industries with our tax money because the farmers are not diverse enough to change and remain relevant. And not that anyone in the world would use the name "yubari melon" or something because, let's face it, no one cares outside of Japan and certainly no one would pay that amount for a product that really is no better than a $2 melon elsewhere (and a LOT smaller!), but I'd like to see Japan try and apply the fine internationally.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Call me cynical, but - and I'm sure it's been going on for decades here - I get the sneaking suspicion that this will be used to price gouge & mislabel. Just like you often see 'Hokkaido' on everything dairy, or 'Ibaraki' when it could be Fukushima - or even no source label at all when it's from Fukushima (plenty of that going on in my supermarket - eggs for example).

If living here for almost a decade has taught me anything, it's question everything, trust no one.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Where are the farms in Kobe?

When I was in Mie, I was told that most of the matsuzaka AND kobe beef comes from Iga city.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It's kind of like protecting whaling when nobody wants or eats the product -- just more protectionism to prop up dying industries with our tax money because the farmers are not diverse enough to change and remain relevant. And not that anyone in the world would use the name "yubari melon" or something because, let's face it, no one cares outside of Japan and certainly no one would pay that amount for a product that really is no better than a $2 melon elsewhere (and a LOT smaller!), but I'd like to see Japan try and apply the fine internationally.

Yet you make no mention of the internationally recognized Kobe beef? People pay attention to quality products like it or not. Thus, you can find Kobe beef in upscale restaurants (unlike hanwoo, the Korean beef, that only they themselves proclaim as high quality meat lol).

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Yumster100: "Yet you make no mention of the internationally recognized Kobe beef? People pay attention to quality products like it or not. Thus, you can find Kobe beef in upscale restaurants (unlike hanwoo, the Korean beef, that only they themselves proclaim as high quality meat lol)."

You miss the point -- there is no way that the upscale restaurants are all getting Kobe beef, and Kobe beef doesn't even come from Kobe to begin with! If you need proof of this, just look at recent mislabeling scandals, like the 'upscale' restaurant in Osaka that had been mislabeling their meat as Matsuzaka gyu for years. I know literally DOZENS of people who forked out near 7500 yen for dinner there and who RAVED about how delicious the meat was, and how superior Matsuzaka beef is, when it was never Matsuzaka beef to begin with. Boy, a couple of them sure were mad when I brought it up after the scandal came to light! (I wanted to know if they were promised refunds. They were promised vouchers if they went again). Do a taste test. Buy "Kobe" beef and some hanwoo beef, if you like, or any other beef, and do a blindfold test, asking them which is the Kobe beef. I've seen it, along with Yubari melon, and Hokkaido crab tests, and more than 70% got it wrong, despite the "superior palette" argument. Especially with seafood -- you're telling me prefectural borders affect the taste of the meat in the ocean?

So, while quality products SOMETIMES get the recognition they deserve, more often than not products get recognition because people are TOLD they are quality products. No nation falls into that trap more than Japan, I'm afraid.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Premium Kobe beef, Yubari melons get brand protection

First they should have stringent laws to prevent rampant mislabeling of food items in Japan.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

@smith,

No, I think you missed the point. It doesn't matter whether your friends can't tell the difference between cheap beef and Kobe beef. It's about protecting a brand which is a common business practice. Your point about mislabeling scandal just proves the point that it needs to be protected: because imposters will target consumers to dupe them into purchasing quality products...hence the SCANDAL. The laws can't protect whether customers can tell the difference but it can make sure the consumers buy what they are buying. It's that simple. Also, chefs worldwide seems to have raved about the quality of Kobe beef. Just because people you know couldn't taste the difference doesn't mean that the quality isn't there. Not everyone is going to say it is delicious since everyone has preferences. But when a large portion of professional chefs acknowledge Kobe beef, then it does prove a point that there must be some correlation of high quality beef with Kobe beef. On the other hand, when have you ever heard of hanwoo beef aside from Koreans? Yet they try to market it with a premium price tag. Tell that to the Koreans with their mistaken beliefs and see what they will tell you. They will swear how great it is while its practically unheard of outside Korea. What is wrong with those chefs outside of Korea, they are being duped by kobe beef i tell ya! I would easily say that the Koreans are far more blind than the Japanese bar none.

-2 ( +2 / -5 )

I'm sure somewhere in China somebody's thinking....BINGO!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Yubari Yabai price. lots of other better mellons.

0 ( +2 / -1 )

Yumster100: " It doesn't matter whether your friends can't tell the difference between cheap beef and Kobe beef."

Not just friends, bud, EVERYONE -- including 'professionals' on taste test shows on television.

"It's about protecting a brand which is a common business practice."

Yes, protectionism, which doesn't make it right. I think we've seen that pretty clearly with the current butter fiasco in Japan, not to mention the oyaji rice growers.

"Your point about mislabeling scandal just proves the point that it needs to be protected"

No, it proves that people take advantage of these silly laws that protect things that should not be protected to begin with because they are no better than anything else.

"but when a large portion of professional chefs acknowledge Kobe beef"

Again, tell them it is, and it WILL be Kobe beef. Just look at restaurants with chefs that get duped by companies that have injected fat into the meat to call it marbled wa-gyu.

"On the other hand, when have you ever heard of hanwoo beef aside from Koreans? Yet they try to market it with a premium price tag. Tell that to the Koreans with their mistaken beliefs and see what they will tell you."

You seem pretty obsessed with Koreans. Obviously YOU have heard of the beef, haven't you? I never said the beef there is superior by any means, nor have I said practices there are any better. You keep bringing it up. But I bet you a million dollars, since you constantly mention hanwoo, that I could give you some, tell you it's Kobe beef, and you'd put it in your mouth, close your eyes, lift your chin to the sky, and say "UMAI! Yappari! Umai!". You would not know the difference, because you were told it was Kobe beef. Happens all the time.

If these brands cannot remain competitive without being massively protected solely for their name, and when the quality is only a name, they should go the way of the dinosaur, plain and simple.

0 ( +2 / -3 )

Kobe is one of the largest japanese cities in terms of area still I never saw a single ranch, farm, or cow over there (I go to Kobe twice a week)

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Thunderbird: "Kobe is one of the largest japanese cities in terms of area still I never saw a single ranch, farm, or cow over there (I go to Kobe twice a week)"

Because Kobe beef is not from Kobe; just part of the 'naming' thing I was talking about to Yumster. That's why it'll be funny to see them trying to enforce any of this at all.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

How about include puffer fish.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

You seem pretty obsessed with Koreans. Obviously YOU have heard of the beef, haven't you? I never said the beef there is superior by any means, nor have I said practices there are any better. You keep bringing it up. But I bet you a million dollars, since you constantly mention hanwoo, that I could give you some, tell you it's Kobe beef, and you'd put it in your mouth, close your eyes, lift your chin to the sky, and say "UMAI! Yappari! Umai!". You would not know the difference, because you were told it was Kobe beef. Happens all the time.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Not just friends, bud, EVERYONE -- including 'professionals' on taste test shows on television.

Please provide links where multiple professional chefs couldn't distinguish cheap meat with Kobe beef. Not talentos but world renown chefs like Anthony Bourdain or Gordon Ramsay.

Yes, protectionism, which doesn't make it right.

That's not what protectionism is. What they're doing is similar to trademark or copyright. Clearly clueless as usual.

You seem pretty obsessed with Koreans. Obviously YOU have heard of the beef, haven't you? I never said the beef there is superior by any means, nor have I said practices there are any better. You keep bringing it up. But I bet you a million dollars, since you constantly mention hanwoo, that I could give you some, tell you it's Kobe beef, and you'd put it in your mouth, close your eyes, lift your chin to the sky, and say "UMAI! Yappari! Umai!". You would not know the difference, because you were told it was Kobe beef. Happens all the time.

Nope, not obsessed. I actually lived there for a while so I was constantly fed this garbage of how hanwoo is superior to Angus beef. No, I'm not going to be pretentious and be able to pinpoint 100% whether it is Kobe beef or not. What I can say though is whether I thought the beef taste good or not. But keep dreaming up with make believe hypothetical rather than coming up with relevant arguments. I guess we can agree to disagree on this subject. My position is that quality brands don't just pop overnight. It takes time, money and lot of work for it to develop. When it becomes a success, their labor gets rewarded. When others start affiliating products to their brand without the proper quality control as the original, then it hurts the brand reputation and unfairly benefits/enriches the imposter. This matter was one way to defend both consumers and farmers from imposters which I see is quite reasonable. Perhaps our understanding of the issues parted on the intent of the registration?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

As an Italian, we get fake versions of our food in international markets all the time and we are trying to protect it by multinationals cheaper food like Japan is doing with its more prominent quality food. And if some people think Parmesan is the same as the original Parmigiano is only their own problem. If you think Parmesan is so better than the original well you should call it with a completely original name at least not with one so similar to the original exploiting its popularity. About Kobe beef, if it isn't from Kobe but from other places isn't important, what matters is the fact that it has been produced respecting the know how for that food and not with other methods.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

In todays highly competitive global market structure, only common sense that one would try to protect ones own brand.

Regardless of the subjective nature of top quality, if I had built up a loyal following of my produce by those who deem it excellent, I'd surely want to protect it. If people want to pay a premium for a Yubari melon, for whatever pre-conceived notion - then let them.

This can be applied to all branding. There is market for peope who think a Hermes bag is better than a local crafted one? And those that say only the Champagne district can make sparkling wine of quality? Or that a bmw is better than a toyota. Or no samsung product could equal an apple - he, he!

This is called capitalism - blind or otherwise - it's what drives the machinery. Those who wish to partake and exchange hard coin for such notions have my full blessing as contributors to the coffers others.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

When is Capt'n Crunch going to get special status?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

An interesting point has been raised here... if "Kobe beef" is no longer actually raised in Kobe, then how can the government certify "Kobe beef" as “a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin”.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@Fadamor

It's a really messed-up system. Stilton cheese, from England can famously only be so-called legally if it's produced in Leicester, Nottingham or Derby. If it's made in Stilton (Cambridge), then it ain't "Stilton".

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Kobe Beef is just too fatty for me, keep it lean/non-marbrled, ditto for Tuna alwaysbgo for akami never toro. Ditto for Kalbie.

As for those melonsvthey are just to expensive and you get similar quality cheaper

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Wow, Smith, you got it totally wrong. By placing laws on it you ensure you are getting the right thing. This would prevent your friends getting duped. Such laws in France have many conditions which helps to support the quality even more, such as with Champagne. The world is a better place because of it. Think of it as a copyright, but for an agricultural product from a specific region with specific quality standards.

The whale thing is totally different - has nothing to do with location - it's just a longstanding practice of Japanese. Whale steak is pretty yummy by the way.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Kobe Beef is just too fatty for me, keep it lean/non-marbrled

As the flavor of the beef is mostly imparted by the fat, beef without any marbling ends up tasting more like chicken. Pure muscle tissue tastes pretty much the same from any animal. It's the fat found in the meat that imparts the unique tastes.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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