A couple of weeks back we featured Isa Koi Farm’s nisai harvest – http://nishikigoi.life/2015/10/13/isa-koi-farm-nisai-harvest/

Generally nisai harvests don’t make for great photographs, so I tend not to visit them.  On Sunday evening at the Nagaoka Show Party Toshi Hirasawa commented that I hadn’t yet visited Marudo this harvest season, unfortunately the work load has just been so heavy I hadn’t got around to visiting, but I new this week had some special harvests, including the harvest of their best nisai, today Kohaku, tomorrow Sanke.

It was wet and grey when I left the hotel to rendezvous at Marudo Koi Farm to then head out to the mud pond.  The mud pond to be harvested was situated about 25km away in the town of Ozumi, towards the coast of the Japan Sea, home of Ikarashi Koi Farm – http://nishikigoi.life/directory/listing/ikarashi-yorijo/ – in fact this particular pond used to be used by them.

The Google Earth image below, taken 1st June 2014, shows the mud pond to be harvested, the bottom one of the 3.  Approximately 100m in length with a surface area of 4200sqm, and home to 100 ake nisai over the summer months, Koi that would pass their 1st birthday in the pond.

Aerial image showing Marudo mud ponds in Ozumi

Aerial image showing Marudo mud ponds in Ozumi

Marudo mud pond, Ozumi

Marudo mud pond, Ozumi

Throughout the summer the pond has been watched over by the fellow below, he stood silently, the only sound coming from his portable radio, to ward off cormorants, which could devastate a pond like this.

Mud pond scarecrow

Mud pond scarecrow

Getting ready to harvest

Getting ready to harvest

As the harvest started the rain absolutely poured down, making photographs even harder.  The camera I was using has little or no resistance against the rain so I had to keep sheltered.  Devin and Mikki Swanson were also at the harvest.  Devin Swanson spent several years working at Marudo Koi Farm during his late teens before returning to the family Koi business in the USA.  Mikki is daughter of Mike Hernandez from the Philippines and of Tomigai Koi Food, and her and Devin met through Koi before getting married 4 years ago.  In the image below Mikki is setting up a 360 degree video camera, be sure to find it on Facebook later…..


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Net is pulled around the pond

Net is pulled around the pond

Hisashi Hirasawa

Hisashi Hirasawa

Net closing in

Net closing in

Lifting Koi from mud pond

Lifting Koi from mud pond

Lifting Koi from mud pond

Lifting Koi from mud pond

Lifting Koi from mud pond

Lifting Koi from mud pond

Lifting Koi from mud pond

Lifting Koi from mud pond

In no time at all all the pools were filled and Koi could be carried up to the truck where Toshi loaded them into the transport tanks.

Paddling pool full of nisai

Paddling pool full of nisai

Toshi Hirasawa carrying Koi up the bank

Toshi Hirasawa carrying Koi up the bank

Toshi Hirasawa loading Koi on the truck

Toshi Hirasawa loading Koi on the truck

Toshi Hirasawa loading Koi on the truck

Toshi Hirasawa loading Koi on the truck

Toshi Hirasawa loading Koi on the truck

Toshi Hirasawa loading Koi on the truck

Toshi Hirasawa loading Koi on the truck

Toshi Hirasawa loading Koi on the truck

Toshi Hirasawa loading Koi on the truck

Toshi Hirasawa loading Koi on the truck

Toshi Hirasawa loading Koi on the truck

Toshi Hirasawa loading Koi on the truck

Toshi Hirasawa loading Koi on the truck

Toshi Hirasawa loading Koi on the truck

Toshi Hirasawa loading Koi on the truck

Toshi Hirasawa loading Koi on the truck

Toshi Hirasawa loading Koi on the truck

Toshi Hirasawa loading Koi on the truck

Toshi Hirasawa loading Koi on the truck as his father, Hisashi Hirasawa, looks on

Toshi Hirasawa loading Koi on the truck as his father, Hisashi Hirasawa, looks on

Hisashi Hirasawa checking harvested Koi

Hisashi Hirasawa checking harvested Koi

Toshi's wife, Devin Swanson, Toshi and Hisashi Hirasawa checking harvest

Toshi’s wife, Devin Swanson, Toshi and Hisashi Hirasawa checking harvest

I’ve written about several breeders’ wives over the last few weeks, Toshi’s wife is another who has a full time role at Marudo Koi Farm and there is seemingly no differentiation in the jobs she does just because of her gender, whether it is pulling nets, lifting Koi, she can be found doing it all.

Toshi's wife

Toshi’s wife

Marudo’s number one Nisai Kohaku harvest being brought into Koi house whilst potential buyers look on…… – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA


The 360 degree image above shows the Koi being carried into the Koi house and sorted, whilst anxious buyers look on patiently.

Checking sex of Koi

Checking sex of Koi

Many buyers awaiting Koi to arrive

Many buyers awaiting Koi to arrive

Many buyers awaiting Koi to arrive

Many buyers awaiting Koi to arrive

The nisai Marudo Kohaku everyone was waiting for, although the Koi were not making it easy to be seen all the time….

Marudo nisai Kohaku

Marudo nisai Kohaku

Marudo nisai Kohaku

Marudo nisai Kohaku

Marudo nisai Kohaku

Marudo nisai Kohaku

Marudo nisai Kohaku

Marudo nisai Kohaku

Customers checking their selections

Customers checking their selections

I have written about Marudo Koi for a number of years.  Including the other varieties that they produce they are perhaps the 2nd or 3rd largest producer of Nishikigoi in Niigata.

Every year at the Niigata Nogyosai you can be sure that they take some special Koi, historically, perhaps falling short in terms of size.


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On Niigata Seasons Autumn – http://store.nishikigoi.tv/product/niigata-seasons-autumn/ – filmed in October 2014, we feature a 4 year old 79cm Maruten Kohaku, 1 year on that Koi has passed the 80cm mark and looks so youthful it is untrue.  However, it looks small compared to a number of other Koi in the same pond.  Recent investment in new parent Koi seems to have reaped reward as there are many very high quality jumbo Koi at Marudo this harvest season, topped perhaps by an 89cm Sandan Kohaku.

Maybe this year will see Marudo break the cycle of Dainichi, Isa and Nogami Nogyosai Grand Champions which started in 2008……watch this space this coming weekend…


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