Kagoshima students breed restaurant-quality pork

By Kazuhiro Shiraishi / Yomiuri Shimbun Staff WriterICHIKIKUSHIKINO, Kagoshima — Pork from kurobuta (black pigs) bred by students at Ichiki Agricultural and Horticultural High School is being served once a month at a local tonkatsu pork cutlet restaurant in Ichikikushikino, Kagoshima Prefecture. The students’ efforts are part of the “Kurobuta Project,” in which local government, industry and academia promote the regional specialty.

About 20 second- and third-year students majoring in pig farming at the school’s biological engineering department are taking a practical course on mating, birthing and shipping pigs. The school is designated by the prefectural government as a pig breeding center and has contributed to the breeding of more than 30,000 pigs over the last five years.

The students’ efforts attracted the municipal government’s attention, and the city asked pork cutlet restaurant Kodawari Tonkatsu Ajikobo Misono to serve their produce, aiming to popularize the meat as “kurobuta pork from Ichiki Agricultural and Horticultural High School.”

The restaurant receives enough pork from the school to cook 100 cutlets per month. The two varieties of cutlet served — pork loin and fillet — bear the school’s name.

The school-bred pork cutlets were first served in a limited quantity for the restaurant’s 20th anniversary in May. Starting this June, the pork is scheduled to be served on the 20th of each month.

“[The students’] pork has a more sophisticated taste than ordinary varieties. The fat is beautiful and less greasy than with other pork,” said Misono’s manager Koji Takemoto, 43.

Before the pork’s commercial release, about 15 students and others involved in the project attended a party in April to sample the fruits of their labor.

“Our pork is safe to eat because we feed the pigs vegetables grown using a minimal amount of pesticide,” said Asuka Hamada, 18, who leads the pig farming team at the school. “I’m glad the pork bears our school’s name because it’s proof that our efforts have been acknowledged.”

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