Firstly I would encourage you to read this in conjunction with the previous article – Goshiki in Detail – they are very much inter-related.

In that article I stated that I believed that it wouldn’t be long until we saw Goshiki taking Grand Champion at local and young Koi shows in Japan.  Whether that comes true only time will tell.

I recently stumbled upon an article published in English Rinko magazine in 1999 which was a feature on Koromo and Goshiki, it was that latter part that particularly caught my interest, and in it some interesting comments that made me think how the path to the perfect Goshiki has maybe changed in the last 15 or 16 years.

For much of that period of time Shiro Utsuri has widely laid claim to being considered the 4th Gosanke variety behind Kohaku, Sanke and Showa.  However, it was as far back as 2008 during which a conversation with a group of young breeders that they universally stated that Goshiki was taking over that mantle from Shiro Utsuri.

In the Rinko article I mentioned earlier it stated; ‘a few Shiro Goshiki are excellent enough to make us imagine that they might be superior to the Big Three if they grew in length.’

The article uses the term ‘Shiro Goshiki’ extensively, a term which perhaps has been dropped from regular Goshiki vocabulary.  In – Goshiki in Detail – I use the category terms ‘kindai’, ‘kuro’ and ‘nezu’ – as well as detailing the Mameshibori Goshiki produced by Hiroi Koi Farm.  So what is a ‘Shiro Goshiki’?


Paid banner advert - put your ad here for just £50 per month

These 2 images accompanied the article, the captions are those that appeared in the article as well.

This is the type of Shiro Goshiki which excels in body ground. The Koi is spiced with the colour contrast of indigo and red on the transparent body.

This is the type of Shiro Goshiki which excels in body ground. The Koi is spiced with the colour contrast of indigo and red on the transparent body.

The Shiro Goshiki has a spotted pattern like this. I hear that this Koi grew to be 85cm long.

The Shiro Goshiki has a spotted pattern like this. I hear that this Koi grew to be 85cm long.

I think it is fair to suggest that neither Koi would be anything to overly excite the hobbyist in 2015 but I think certainly some interesting aspects to observe from both of these Koi.

Consider the first example.  In ‘Goshiki in Detail‘ I wrote how the great grandfather of Kazuyoshi and Nobuyuki Hiroi at Hiroi Koi Farm ‘wanted to produce an Asagi with hi markings on its back’.  That example would seem to very much match that description.  That grey background is reminiscent of that seen on some of Kanno’s Goshiki as well, albeit they also exhibit an metallicesque luster as well.

The second example is very much in the style of the famous Hiroi bred Mameshibori Goshiki, although somewhat less refined than that Koi.

Mameshibori Goshiki bred by Hiroi Koi Farm. Best in Variety at the 2010 All Japan Show.

Mameshibori Goshiki bred by Hiroi Koi Farm. Best in Variety at the 2010 All Japan Show.

It may be interesting to look at the other examples of Goshiki which accompanied the article and the descriptions which went with them.

This is the type of Kuro Goshiki. Such a body fully covered with hi as this makes this Koi more gorgeous.

This is the type of Kuro Goshiki. Such a body fully covered with hi as this makes this Koi more gorgeous.

This is a little old type of Goshiki. This Koi reminds us of what the Goshiki belonged to the Kawarimono.

This is a little old type of Goshiki. This Koi reminds us of what the Goshiki belonged to the Kawarimono.

This is a Goshiki which has a very unique body ground. Further improvement may enable new types of Goshiki to appear.

This is a Goshiki which has a very unique body ground. Further improvement may enable new types of Goshiki to appear.

The original Goshiki may have such a complex shade of colour as this. This Koi has a lot of factors to see.

The original Goshiki may have such a complex shade of colour as this. This Koi has a lot of factors to see.

Perhaps just the Kuro Goshiki and that Goshiki Sanke would stand up to scrutiny by the discerning hobbyist today, and to be fair the Kuro Goshiki maybe considered a little ordinary?  The mankaburi head pattern, and red that is neither clean, nor completely robed.


Paid banner advert - put your ad here for just £50 per month

He are a couple of other Goshiki that appeared in print around that time, both prize winners at shows in Japan.

Prize winning Goshiki, late 1990's

Prize winning Goshiki, late 1990’s

Prize winning Goshiki, late 1990's, 50bu

Prize winning Goshiki, late 1990’s, 50bu

Both examples seem reminiscent of the Goshiki of Kanno Koi Farm that you can see pictured in Goshiki in Detail, however it is fair to say they have been somewhat refined, as you would expect, in the interim period.

Rinko magazine states, ‘The popularity tilts towards the Shiro Goshiki.  Needless to say, the Shiro Goshiki becomes prize winners more often than the Kuro Goshiki.  That with a spotted pattern is very popular.  It is gorgeous and beautiful, to be sure.’

The Koi it describes there is very reminiscent of the Mameshibori Goshiki detailed above, one that many have eulogised over, and understandably so.  However, I struggle to recall another example of Goshiki that would really fit the description of having a ‘spotted pattern’.

I suppose that these 2 examples that I classified as ‘Kindai Goshiki’ in – Goshiki in Detail – would also classify as Shiro Goshiki, in fact the 2 terms are probably interchangeable.  The ‘Kindai Goshiki’ from Kuroki’s ‘Modern Nishikigoi’ published in 1987 would also fit both categories and has a somewhat unrefined ‘spotted pattern’.

At the 2010 All Japan Wakagoi Show, this Goshiki from Kondo Koi Farm won Best in Variety and the 58bu Sakura prize. The clean beni pattern, the sumi border to the head pattern, the white dorsal area with the subtle mameshibori type pattern, the white fins and tail, all combine to make a stunning example of Kindai Goshiki.

At the 2010 All Japan Wakagoi Show, this Goshiki from Kondo Koi Farm won Best in Variety and the 58bu Sakura prize.
The clean beni pattern, the sumi border to the head pattern, the white dorsal area with the subtle mameshibori type pattern, the white fins and tail, all combine to make a stunning example of Kindai Goshiki.

This 55bu Goshiki, bred by Minuma Koi Farm, took the Kokugyo prize at the 2011 All Japan Show. It is a truly unique Koi. To have won Kokugyo it has beaten a large number of Gosanke in the eyes of the judges. As amazing as the Koi looked in January 2011, in 2012 it looked like a Kohaku!

This 55bu Goshiki, bred by Minuma Koi Farm, took the Kokugyo prize at the 2011 All Japan Show. It is a truly unique Koi.
To have won Kokugyo it has beaten a large number of Gosanke in the eyes of the judges.
As amazing as the Koi looked in January 2011, in 2012 it looked like a Kohaku!

Whilst these examples of ‘Kindai Goshiki’ are all prizewinners, and indeed incredibly beautiful examples of Goshiki, without doubt the majority of winners at the All Japan Show now would fall into the Kuro and Nezu groupings.


Paid banner advert - put your ad here for just £50 per month

Whilst Hiroi Koi Farm have tried to replicate the Mameshibori Goshiki there seems little evidence that they have been successful thus far.  Indeed the Koi itself has now changed somewhat and rather more resembles Kuro Goshiki.

In the Rinko article it talks of breeders focusing on developing the quality of the hi pattern, something very much evident in breeder culling today, the quest for high quality beni, without blemish, is the target all Goshiki breeders seem to aspire to, and, when comparing the examples in the Rinko example, they are achieving with success.

Interestingly it also states of the breeders doing selection, ‘They add that no matter how darkish Kuro Goshiki may be tinged with, and that no matter how white the white Goshiki may look, there are possibilities of a spotted pattern appearing in the future.’

The image below shows close ups of the patterns of 6 different Goshiki photographed in October 2015 at 4 different Niigata breeders.

Close ups of 6 Goshiki from 4 Niigata breeders, all photographed in October 2015

Close ups of 6 Goshiki from 4 Niigata breeders, all photographed in October 2015

All 6 were excellent quality examples of Goshiki, all exhibited extremely clean and pleasing beni patterns, however the background styles varied widely, only one suggesting that it would maybe develop a ‘spotted’ pattern.

It is clear that Goshiki have come a very long way in 15-20 years and with ever more breeders seemingly joining the Goshiki bandwagon there is ever more scope to develop the variety in the coming years.


Paid banner advert - put your ad here for just £50 per month

Is Hiroi’s Mameshibori Goshiki the ‘perfect’ Goshiki?  It may be, but at the moment it would appear to be a one-off example.

For now the path to the perfect Goshiki continues…..


Paid banner advert - put your ad here for just £50 per month