What is a tategoi ? What is a tateshita ?
Tategoi and tateshita are koi with great potential. This definition is not a literal translation of Japanese. You also will not find these two words in a Japanese dictionary. They are terms used only among “koi people” to refer to koi “who will improve in the future”.
In order to understand how to define a tategoi, tateshita one has to understand the process of evolution of a koi.
Koi are usually born in May. As soon as they begin to swim, a selection is begun. It is very obvious that you have to have experience and a very good eye to be able to choose the good ones from the bad ones, when the koi measure only a few millimetres.
Why are they chosen when they are still so small?
One female lays up to 300,000 eggs. Many will die, but even suppose only 10% survive, we are talking about 30,000 small koi.
And here we are talking about only ONE female.
And only ONE variety.
With this in mind, it is clear that the breeders must choose as soon as possible as a question of space.
The selection in Japan is so rigorous that only 1-2% of the eggs grow.
This is one of the most distinctive features of Japanese koi (compared to eg those in Israel whose selection is not so strict and therefore the quality is not the same).
I could not stop myself from putting a picture of the net size # 3 (!!!) that I bought in Japan because I was so fascinated:
Since they are born in May, the selection starts. En then this selection is selected again.
Until January / February of the following year. At this stage they do the selection of those going for sale and the tategoi. The tategoi are the koi that the breeder considers with great potential. He will set them apart. In most cases the public does not even get to see the tategoi of a breeder as they are in another pond / other greenhouse.
What is a mud pond?
The year advances and the breeder continues to observe his tategoi very carefully. Maybe there are some which doe not meet the requirements of tategoi or just touching them.
At the end of May, early June comes the moment when he decides which of his tategoi will go to “mudpond” (the natural lake) to spend the summer there and develop.
Although these mudponds are very large, the breeder is aware that each koi requires a lot of space in order to develop its growth potential. Therefore how much less koi in the mudpond more possibility of growth for each.
So, the breeder again has to make a selection of the tategoi: Those which have so much potential to enter the mudpond and those who are good, but “not so good”. The latter are called tateshita.
If a breeding is extraordinary with respect to quality and quantity, there may also be tateshita for sale in February / March.
Apart from breeders and some professionals, there are very few people who are able to distinguish a tategoi from a normal koi if they all swim together in the same pond.
It is very difficult and requires a lot of experience and vision.
Who could imagine that this tosai would become such a beauty? It reminds me a little of the story of the “Ugly Duckling”:
How to select the tategoi?
Of course the “traditional” criteria count: body shape, intensity of colors, shape of the fins, size of head, quality of skin etc. But after all, the selection is always a PERSONAL decision of the breeder. And a great responsibility, bearing in mind that a tategoi can generate a higher income than a “normal” tosai.
Knowing that it is a personal decision of the breeder, it is understandable and human to err. In both directions: positive and negative. That means: there may be tategoi in the “normal” koi but there may also be a “normal” koi in the tategoi category.
Where can you buy tategoi, tateshita?
The tategoi are not sold.
Well, sorry … most things in the world are for sale.
It depends on the price and how much you are willing to pay. But it is normal that a breeder asks for a much higher price (easily 10x more) if he considers that with that koi could win the title of Grand Champion – which would not only mean a big gain but also an incredible increase of prestige.
I suppose it is obvious that a koi “that will improve in the future” not only depends on the genes, but also that any owner of a jewel like this, must do the maximum possible to give him the best conditions to grow. It is not much use to have a koi with much potential and then give him a poor food. Or leave it in bad water.
If you allow yourself the “luxury” of a tategoi, takeshita, you should do everything, so that the koi can develop its potential:
- appropriate habitat (enough space, enough depth). Read as well “Top 5 mistakes when building a koi pond”
- correct water parameters (for more information click here)
- healthy food depending on the seasons (click here if you want to read more)
The tateshita are like the second selection of the best and when there is a shortage of place to let them grow, sometimes they get sold. Obviously also at higher prices as they “normal” koi as they are still koi “with great potential”.
And now the good NEWS:
At Koi Hacienda this year we had the possibility to buy TATESHITA !!!!!
- 50 TATESHITA of koi butterfly, different varieties (breeder Suda)
- 100 TATESHITA of kohaku (breeder Hasegawa)
Soon we will put photos and we will inform you of the date of beginning of the sale by newsletter.
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P.S. celebrate and share it with your friends 😀