Following on from part 1 of this article – wordpress.niigata-nishikigoi.com/2015/03/14/azukari-to-leave-or-not-to-leave-part-1 – we speak to Jeroen van Keulen of Holland’s Koicentrum van Keulen (www.koicentrum.nl) to find out his thoughts and experiences of leaving Koi as azukari in Japan.

 


 

N-N.com – What are your reasons for leaving Koi as azukari in Japan?

Jeroen – In the past I left Koi as azukari because it was exciting and because in my mind mudponds were miracle ponds where every fish would get better and I thought it was impossible to get the same result as the breeders did in their mudponds! Now I know better! Getting the fish to our indoor facility gives a lot less risk and we get similar or even better growth as the fish in the mudponds. So now I only leave koi in Japan on customer request or because I have the intention to use them on Japanese koi shows.

Jeroen looks for his Sanke at Yagenji’s number 1 harvest.

Jeroen looks for his Sanke at Yagenji’s number 1 harvest.

N-N.com – What are the benefits of leaving a Koi in Japan to be grown?


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Jeroen – That you can enter your fish in Japanese koi shows and that it saves space in your own pond! I think that most people thinking about leaving a koi in Japan as azukari because they cannot get the same result as the breeders do should consider how they could make there pond better! It’s no use to leave a Koi in Japan for a few years to bring it home and knowing that the development will stop! Of course, if you’re buying Koi with the intention to enter them in a Japanese koi show you should leave them in Japan.

N-N.com – What kind of Koi do you generally leave as azukari?

Jeroen – Of course the most I leave in Japan are Gosanke, because most koi hobbyist looking for high grade koi are looking for Gosanke. But if I find other variety that I feel are worthy of an extra year mudpond I will leave them also! Regarding size, they can be tosai up to jumbo koi over 80 cm.

N-N.com – Can you give an idea of the costs usually associated with leaving a Koi in Japan to grow?

Jeroen – The cost of leaving a Koi in Japan is different from breeder to breeder, also it can depend on the variety of the Koi and the size of the Koi.

N-N.com – How many Koi do you presently have in Japan for yourself or your customers?


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Jeroen – At this moment we have 16 Koi in Japan of which 7 are customer Koi.

N-N.com – What are the risks associated with leaving a Koi to grow in Japan?

Jeroen – You can make a very long list of all the risk factors! But the most important are predators, earthquake, disease, flooding and drought!

N-N.com – Have you experienced any disasters?

Jeroen – Oh yes!!! Almost every year we have lost a few Koi due to the things mentioned above. In the Chuetsu Earthquake we lost of very special showa that we saw just before the earthquake. It came from the mudpond in exceptional condition and a few days later the earthquake took her as one of its victims. In 2011 we lost a very special Ginrin Showa due to a mudslide. And 2012 was an absolute disaster year for us! We already heard that in summer there was some severe drought, so before going to Japan I was very nervous! On the second day of my Japan trip I got the news that a very very very special goshiki was not found at the harvest. The next day I had an appointment with a breeder to check our two sansai azukari that he harvested that day. On arrival I saw his face and knew that something was wrong! One of the 2 Koi was not found at harvest! A few days later a sansai Sanke was harvested and one of the nylon lines that are used for predator protection was wrapped around the body of the Koi and completely pulled into the flesh! At the end of the trip a very promissing nisai Goshiki was harvested and it only grew one centimeter! 16 Koi as azukari, 2 lost, 1 completely damaged and 1 that didn’t grow! Are there risks involved in leaving koi in Japan?

Ginrin Showa that was lost in mudslides in August 2011.

Ginrin Showa that was lost in mudslides in August 2011.

This very special Goshiki was purchased from Hiroi Koi Farm as a tosai, photographed on 22nd April 2010 at approximately 30cm.  The second picture is the last time Jeroen saw her on 19th April 2012 when she was a 62cm, sansai and exhibited at the 2012 All Japan Wakagoi Show in Ojiya. She did not return from the mudpond in autumn 2012.


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Hiroi Goshiki, 22nd April 2010, approximately 30cm

Hiroi Goshiki, 22nd April 2010, approximately 30cm

Hiroi Goshiki, 19th April 2012, sansai 62cm

Hiroi Goshiki, 19th April 2012, sansai 62cm

N-N.com – In your experience how are such disasters normally handled by the breeder?

Jeroen – That is also something that differs from breeder to breeder! Some give a guarantee for the first year, others don’t! So always ask if there is a form of guarantee!

N-N.com – Can you share any particularly special success stories from leaving a Koi as azukari?

Jeroen – A success story? That must be the story behind 3 Yagenji Sanke! In different years I bought 3 different Yagenji Sanke that all stayed at the farm for one or more years! All did very well at Koi shows in Japan. The first one took second place at the 2010 Niigata Nogyosai and she became best foreign entry at the 2011 Nagaoka Koi Show. The second Sanke took second place at the 2011 Niigata Nogyosai and she became Grand Champion at the 2012 Nagaoka Koi Show. The last one is my absolute favorite, she took first place in her class at the 2011 Niigata Nogyosai, third place at the 2012 all Japan Young Koi Show and Best Foreign Entry at the 2012 Nagaoka Koi Show. Now she is in Holland and I hope she will win a big prize at a European show.

The Sanke below was purchased from Yagenji Koi Farm as a nisai of 52cm in February 2011. The second picture was taken on 18th October 2011 when she had been newly harvested from the mudpond.  The Sanke was left for another year and the 3rd picture was taken in October 2012 when 70cm and yonsai, she was the highest placed foreign entry at the Nagaoka Koi Show (not strictly true as Jeroen also took the Grand Champion prize). The Koi remained in Japan until harvested Autumn 2013.  The final picture on the right was taken February 2015 in Holland where she has now grown to 81cm and Jeroen hopes that she will compete for a big prize at a European Koi show. [update 20th September 2015 – in September 2015 this Koi was awarded Supreme Champion at the German Koi Show]

Yagenji Koi Farm Sanke, nisai, 52cm, February 2011

Yagenji Koi Farm Sanke, nisai, 52cm, February 2011

18th October 2011, newly harvested from the mudpond

18th October 2011, newly harvested from the mudpond

October 2012 , 70cm, yonsai

October 2012 , 70cm, yonsai

February 2015, 81cm

February 2015, 81cm


 


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Over the course of the coming week we will bring you the thoughts of more Koi professionals.  If you have had experience of leaving Koi in Japan as azukari and would like to share them please do not hesitate to contact us.


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