Back in April 2011 I was lucky enough to be offered four of the best tosai from NND‘s first spawning of Kohaku and I purchased the top two from these. The quality was very impressive and with the parent koi coming from Nogami I had confidence in the lineage. Both koi were left to grow in Japan.
The only issue with these koi was their size. They were quite small because they had been spawned late in the season. However, because of their lineage and bone structures I was confident that over the next couple of years their growth would catch up. The main reason for my confidence was they had not been kept in such a way that would stunt their growth. They just hadn’t had as much opportunity to grow as the other tategoi at NND which had been spawned earlier.
The Kohaku at tosai
So, more specifically onto this particular koi which has been growing on at NND for two years and represents all of the benefits to growing koi in Japan when everything goes to plan. This first picture shows this koi at tosai when it was just 24cm. There are various points to look at.
First up is the body, which has everything you should be looking for in a koi of this age. The head has very good proportions with good length, width and a broad mouth. The head then leads into a body that has good length with height around the shoulders, and a good strong peduncle. You’ll see there is a slight taper from behind the head down to the peduncle which is to be expected because this will even out as the body gains more volume.
The pattern is a very appealing six-step with a maruten head pattern. The beni also wraps far enough down the body that the pattern will still look good as the koi grows.
Finally, onto the skin. Some would say the beni is too ‘red’ but this is a characteristic of Nogami Kohaku so is actually ideal knowing the parent koi. You may also be thinking the kiwa on the third step of the pattern is not great, but I always expected this to improve as the pigmentation spread more into the scales. As you can see from the later pictures it did just that. The sashi at tosai is just perfect: the depth of it is ideal and it is even across every step of the pattern. This tells us that the colour has depth and elasticity. Overall at tosai it showed a lot of promise, the only real issue or risk was that it was from an untested bloodline.
Six months later
This second picture is of the Kohaku at nisai, just six months after the tosai picture was taken. It had done very well in the mud pond. The size was 42cm with a growth rate of 18cm and the gender confirmed as female. The body had made huge leaps forward and the taper had become far less noticeable. You can also see that the sashi noticeably tightened up and the beni actually gained considerable depth. Overall it was a very successful growing period. As a result of the huge growth it was decided with the client that it would be in the best interest of the koi to stay in Japan for another year.
Sansai growth to 60cm
The final picture was taken last October after the second year in the mud pond and as you can see the koi is really starting to mature. The growth was considerable again, going from 42cm to 60cm, and the gain in body volume has been impressive. The area of kiwa on the third step has started to refine and the sashi has almost completely tightened up. The overall quality is very high and after another good year in the mudpond the Kohaku will stay for a final year – I expect her to easily reach 70cm based on the last two years growth rates.
Leaving koi to grow in Japan can be a risky business and it doesn’t always go to plan, but when it does the results are unrivalled. In this case the lucky owner now has a koi that should be a serious competitor at the UK shows when she lands on our shores.