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Koi Varieties



Thanks to the ingenuity and dedication of Japanese master koi breeders, the world is now blessed with a diverse collection of koi breeds and varieties.  Present-day koi are so brilliantly colored that it's difficult to imagine all of them coming from the dull-colored fish grown for food in the mountains of Niigata, Japan centuries ago. 


To novice koi hobbyists, the flurry of Japanese terms corresponding to these various breeds can be daunting.  The advice commonly given is to get accustomed to the terms slowly and enjoy the learning process. The starting point of this learning process is more often than not with the three most established and most popular breeds of koi, namely, the 'Kohaku', the 'Sanke', and the 'Showa'.   'Gosanke' is the term used to refer to these three breeds taken together. 


 "Koi appreciation starts with the Kohaku and ends with the Kohaku."


Kohaku, which pertains to a white koi with red markings, is the first breed to be established by the Japanese.  Its simplicity, beauty, and availability make it the most popular and logical choice for a person buying his or her first koi.  Through the ensuing years this hobbyist may build up his collection by adding newer and more sophisticated varieties.  After having tried them all, however, this hobbyist will most likely 'rediscover' the Kohaku, finally experiencing first-hand what the cliche above really means.  But it doesn't end there, the cycle simply starts all over again.


Such is the hobby of koi keeping - a never-ending process of  'discovery' and 'rediscovery'.  Thirty years from now, our hobbyist might still be watching some of his or her original koi swimming in the pond.  If that will be the case, then he will have done things correctly, and can rightfully claim that he has achieved every koi keeper's dream.



Figure 1.  Choose a koi variety and click on it (hover over the thumbnail

image to know the variety's name)



Photos' sources: www.koi.com; www.keirinponds.com




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