Those who do not eat beef hotpot is behind the civilization advancement.
——仮名垣魯文の「安愚楽鍋」, 1871

Japanese started to eat Beef after めいじいしん (Meiji Restoration) started. The foreign ships came to Yokohama and brought a new style of eating. At that time, cow were work force protected by Buddhism, so no one eats cow.

1872/1/24, Emperor eat beef for the first time. Was a huge news during that time and eating beef is a sign of new civilization. The beef hotpot (ぎゅうなべ) made of simple ingredients with Beef, soy sauce, and sugar. In just 5 years, there are 550 shops who sell 牛鍋.

The name changed after かんとうだいしんさい (1923 Great Kantō earthquake), everything was destroyed and people have to grill and eat things on すき (spade), hence the name すき焼き1。 People moved around in Kansai and Kantō after the earthquake, and the Beef hotpot got cross influenced.

The slicer was not invented yet in the time. So 牛鍋 are consists of beef cubes instead of thin slice beef. Where you can still eat the original 牛鍋:

Sukiyaki Shops

Good chains to try