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Residents of New York’s Noho neighbourhood in search of a good steak might be forgiven for walking straight past Japan Premium Beef. The minimalist appearance of the glass-fronted shop belies the true nature of its business: washugyu beef. “Some people think it’s an art gallery,” says Daigo Irifune (above), its president.

Irifune launched the butcher shop on 1 May as a retail outlet for Yamaya USA’s washugyu distribution business. Yamaya USA, the American branch of Japan-based parent company Yamaya, first entered the US market in 1999 to distribute…

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