History of Koi

Hundreds of years ago, people found a coloured koi among their black koi used for food at that time in a small village in Niigata.

They praised this rare koi and tried to breed it. They experimented by trial and error, and many accidents produced the mutations seen in today's Nishikigoi. It is much like the history of mankind, since life first appeared on the earth, we have cultivated our civilisations.

People crossbred this mutant red and white koi. They produced a white koi with red markings at first. Of course at that time, the name of Kohaku did not exist and its quality was very low. While they were breeding this type of white and red koi, they found that some koi had black spots on their red markings. The present day Taisho Sanshoku is based upon this koi. It was defined as a kind of Nishikigoi about 60-80 years ago.

In the Showa era, another very different lineage of koi was produced. It was made by crossbreeding Ki Utsuri and Kohaku. It is now called Showa Sanshoku.

Later children found a black koi whose back was shining a little like gold. It was later defined as an Ogon.

Continuous crossbreeding with all fixed kinds of koi have produced the Nishikigoi we see today. In the process of improving the breed, many koi pioneers made special efforts. There was Tomoin, who improved the origin of Kohaku; Yagozen, who produced a more vivid Kohaku by crossbreeding Tomoin Kahku and Sadazo, Torazo and Jinbei, who made the effort to improve the Taisho Sanshoku. Mr Kobayashi attempted to improve Showa Sanshoku's quality. Mr Aoki and Mr Hoshide specialised on Ogon. 

All of their efforts have brought about the present day Nishikigoi boom.

Around 1950, Nishikigoi were bred and traded only among small village people. In the 1960's, a good transportation system was put into operation throughout the country and a new method of carrying Nishikigoi was developed. Nishikigoi boom spread all over Japan. At first, it explored in the western part of Japan and spread to the east.

A Nishikigoi fanciers organisation was formed on a national scale and methods for admiring and breeding also improved rapidly. In 1969, the first Combined Nishikigoi Show was held in Tokyo. Since then the annual show has been held in Tokyo and it is getting more splendid every year.

Since then, Nishikigoi have been exported to many foreign countries and breeding is very popular now. 

One mutant koi in a small mountain village changed it figure and its offspring are now loved by many people all over the world. This is how Nishikigoi came to the throne of breeding fish to be admired.

'Nishikigoi - Traditional Beauty of Japan' - Mr. Ogata