koi families and varieties

A big clan: families and varieties

Perhaps it seems bold – especially a person who is neither historical nor diplomat – but it occurs to me to relate the term koi with the Royal Family. Let’s see … I mean, Alfonso X, Carlos I, Juan Carlos I … all were Kings, but the first was from the dynasty of Burgundy, the other Habsburg and the last of the Bourbon Dynasty. As with koi I dare to say it is similar … all are koi, but one comes from “Dynasty” of Gosanke, the other from the “Dynasty” of Utsuri Hikari Mono and one of the “Dynasty” of Kawarimono. In total there are 14 of these “Dynasties”. In the world of koi they are called simply “families”.

It is a white fish with red drawing (= hi). The word “kohaku” is combined with another word that indicates the shape and number of red spots like eg “kohaku sandan” indicates a kohaku with 3 red spots.
The deeper the red, the higher the quality. The white should be snow white. Here the feed and water quality play an important role.
The color must stop before reaching the tail (= bongiri) and the fins. Fins must be transparent and colorless.

SANKE = taisho sanshoku
It is a white fish with red and black designs. The red should be deep and even. The sumi (black =) must be well defined, contrasting well with red. It must be distributed evenly throughout the body but not exceed the sideline. Nor should appear black on the head, but yes as fine lines on the pectoral fins (= tejima). There should be no red in the fins.

SHOWA = showa sanshoku
It is a black fish with white and red spots.
The three colors should appear in the head.
When the black head has a V-shaped pattern or diagonal (= menware) it is regarded as perfect. The showa symbolizes strength.
The sumi (black =) is all over the body and appears as spots on the pectoral fins (= motoguru), however a completely black fin is considered a defect. At the tail stripes (= ojima) may occur. When the koi has motoguru and ojima it means that it has a stable sumi and comes from a good bloodline. Best showa have in the bongiri (= before the tail) red or white, but not black. A traditional showa has only 20% white in his body. Now there are tendencies to want more white (and less black) making it appear a more elegant koi.

Kohaku, Sanké y Showa belong to the Gosanké group.

The Bekko – has its origins in the variety Taisho.
It is a white, red or yellow fish with small black designs, well distributed over the body.
It should not have black on its head, nor on the sideline or on the tail.
The fins can be white or striped with sumi.
Hi Bekko = A red fish with black designs
Ki Bekko = A yellow fish with black designs
Shiro Bekko = A white fish with black designs – this is the best known in this group, but today, it is a bit forgotten and the Shiro Utsuri (= black fish with white drawings) is more popular.

It is one of the oldest varieties. It is a blue fish with red fins and belly. The red will develop over the years, but should not exceed the sideline. The pattern should be perfectly symmetrical and unblemished. The center of the scales should be darker and outer area lighter. The head should be blue / gray without any spot. They may have red stripes on the fins and tail.

The Shusui is the doitsu version (= fish without scales) of Asagi. It has only long blue scales on the back and on the sideline. The head is white / beige color.
In the fins it may have motoaka (= red stripes) and tail the ojima.

It is a cross between a Kohaku and a Narumi Asagi. It is a white koi with red spots which will get an overlay darker pattern. The fins are white or have hi (= red) but never sumi (= black).
Ai Koromo = is the most common variety: the pattern of a Kohaku with a white as snow and a blue “layer” on the red.
Budo Goromo = Budo means “grape” – it is more purple as the layer over the red is darker.

It is a very popular fish. It relates to the Japanese crane (grus japonensis) which also has a red ball on the head and relates to immortality and nobility. The tancho is a pure white fish with a red ball in the center of the head. It does not need to be a perfect ball, but the red should not go over its head and down the eyes.
Tancho Sanké = is a Sanké (and its characteristics) whose only red spot is the red ball on the head.
Tancho Showa = is a Showa (and its characteristics) whose only red spot is the red ball in the head.

Utsurimono means “those who reflect” referring to sumi which is often reflected by the second color. They are fish with black body and spots of white, yellow or red. The black can be in the whole body. It is assumed that utsurimonos are a very old variety, initially only black and yellow.
Shiro utsuri = Black + White: The contrast is beautiful. The black can take years to develop.
Hi Utsuri = Black + Red: This fish has the final color after the first year. In this variety can often appear shimi (= black dots).
Ki Utsuri = Black + Yellow: A koi that is not very often, that’s why it is so appreciated.

It’s a cross between an Ogon and a Showa or a variety of Utsuri. They are fish with two metallic colors. They are the metallic version of Utsurimono or Showa group, including Kin and Gin Showa. Their colors vary depending on the insolation.

This group includes all other koi with metallic colors that do not belong to the group Utsuri Hikari Mono. The most popular in this group are the Kuyaku, Yamatonishiki and Kukusui. In this group, the brightness is the most important criterion (after body shape and pattern). Keep in mind that the red can easily disappear.

A koi with one single metallic color. This kind of koi is very appreciated by the novice.
Yamabuki Ogon: yellow / gold metallic
Orenji Ogon: metallic orange
Platinum Ogon (also known as Purachina): white metallic
Nezu Ogon: grey metallic

Means “something special”. Here are all non-metallic koi that are not classified in the above classes. There are many varieties in this group such as Chagoi, Hajiro, Ochiba Chigure, Goshiki, Aka Matsuba, Karasigoi, Beni Goi, Goshiki, Ki Goi, Kanokogoi.

The word refers to the shiny scales. To be classified in this category, the koi must have at least 20 shiny scales. When there is sun, they look like diamonds swimming in the pond. They are highly prized by lovers of koi, but usually do not grow that big. Depending on the pattern of shiny scales they are called “pearl ginrin” or “ginrin diamond” etc. Over the color red there is usually a golden glow and over black and white it is more a silver glow.