The objectives of this study were to investigate the effects of vitamin A (retinol) on growth hormone (GH) secretion and circulating insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) concentration in Japanese Black steers. Thirteen 10-month-old Japanese Black steers were divided into two groups: high vitamin A (H) group and low vitamin A (L) group. The animals in the H group were injected with 20 ml retinol palmitate (303 mg as retinol) intramuscularly every month throughout the experimental period. The steers in the L group were injected with vitamin A similarly at the age of 10 to 14 months. All steers were given vitamin A with the food (approx. 100 μg as retinol per kg diet) at the age of 21 to 30 months to prevent clinical vitamin A deficiency. Blood samples for analyses of vitamin A and IGF-1 were collected every 2 months. Series of blood samples for analyses of GH were collected at 15-min intervals over a 6-h period from each animal at the age of 10, 20, and 30 months. Although there was no difference in food intake between the two groups (P > 0·05), the average daily gain of the H group was greater (P < 0·001) than that of the L group. The carcass weight and subcutaneous fat thickness of the H group were significantly greater (P < 0·05) than those of the L group. The longissimus muscle area (P < 0·01) and marbling score (P < 0·001) of the L group were significantly greater than those of the H group. The serum retinol concentrations of the L group were significantly lower (P < 0·01) than those of the H group from the age of 16 months. The serum IGF-1 concentrations of the L group gradually decreased and were significantly lower (P < 0·01) than those of the H group from the age of 18 months. The overall mean concentration, peak height, area under the curve, and nadir of GH in both groups decreased with age. However, there were no significant differences (P > 0·05) in overall mean GH concentration, peak number, peak height, area under the curve, or nadir between the two groups. These results indicate that vitamin A affects the IGF-1 levels, with little or no intermediary effect on GH.