In 2002 ‘Yuhi’, a 101cm Sanke bred by Matsunosuke was awarded the Grand Champion prize at the 34th All Japan Koi Show.  She was the first, and still only, Grand Champion in excess of the mythical 1m mark at the Shinkokai All Japan Combined Nishikigoi Show.  She was the 14th Sanke to have been awarded the prize in 34 years.  She was also the last Sanke to be awarded the prize, in the 12 competitive All Japan Combined Nishikigoi Shows to have taken place since the title has been won on 5 occasions by Showa, and on 7 occasions by Kohaku.

If you’ve read my ‘Heavyweight Contenders’ article for the forthcoming 2016 All Japan Koi Show – http://nishikigoi.life/2016/01/09/2016-all-japan-koi-show-heavyweight-contenders/ – you will perhaps have noted that no Sanke feature.

Whilst no Sanke may have won the title since 2002 there have been some memorable Sanke that have appeared, here are some from the last 10 years that stick in my mind for one reason or another.  All of these Koi have competed in the 2 largest size classes, therefore have or could have competed for the GC prize.

Okayama Momotaro

Okayama Momotaro (pic courtesy of Jane Maneerat)

Tried desperately to find my own picture of this Koi but without success, thankfully my good friend Jane Maneerat came to the rescue as this is one Sanke that I wouldn’t want to leave out.  This Sanke, bred by Momotaro Koi Farm, won a number of prizes culminating in Best in Variety in 2008 when in the 90bu size class.  Prior to that it had won Mature Champion in 2006 and 85bu Kokugyo in 2007.  Early in 2008 the Koi was exported from Japan and was awarded Grand Champion at the 1st Asia Cup show which was staged in Singapore.

Okayama Momotaro

Okayama Momotaro

In 2009 this Momotaro Sanke caused a stir when it was benched, and the rumour mill had been hot about it on the run up to the show.  The Sanke was perhaps most memorable for its size, being around the 1m mark.  This Sanke featured strongly in the GC voting, making it through to the 2nd round of voting (top 5) before being eliminated.  I think at that time it just wasn’t Momotaro’s time to win the All Japan Koi Show, the eventual grand champion did not win a single ballot until the 3rd and final one which it won by 44 to 41 votes.  She would win the 2009 ZNA Koi Show GC prize the following November.

Sakai Fish Farm

Sakai Fish Farm

This impressive Sanke first came on to my radar so to speak at the 2010 AJKS, she was entered into the 90bu class, although that particular show was won in a landslide by the Dainichi Kohaku owned by Masao Kato.  This picture was taken in 2011 and I very much had her as a major challenger to M-Legend.  When it came down to voting M-Legend and Nogami’s ‘Pandora’ Kohaku dominated the 1st ballot and the choice for GC in the second ballot came between just those 2 Koi.


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Sakai Fish Farm

Sakai Fish Farm

This Sanke, photographed in 2011, as the one above, had also competed at the 2010 All Japan Koi Show where it had actually been awarded the Best in Variety Sanke prize, amongst some very serious competition.  The Koi below was also at the 2010 show.  In terms of GC potential she was a little small, sadly 2011 was her last year.

Sakai Fish Farm

Sakai Fish Farm

This picture was again taken at the 2011 All Japan Koi Show, a Sanke that had been awarded the runner up prize at the 2007 Wakagoi Show so had been on the scene a few years.  An impressive Koi, but in the competition of the 2 above which it competed head to head with rather lacked in quality and refinement.

Sakai Fish Farm

Sakai Fish Farm

This is perhaps the most famous, and highest achieving of all the Sanke posted here.  This picture was taken in 2011 when she was awarded the Best in Variety prize.  In 2009 she won the Mature Champion prize, in 2012 she also won the Best in Variety prize.  A truly fabulous Sanke.

Sakai Fish Farm

Sakai Fish Farm

Another incredibly famous Sanke that just makes it into the size criteria of 85bu to appear here.  This Koi is another that had a fairly long career, first being runner up at the 2010 Wakagoi Show and following with Mature Champion 2011 All Japan Koi Show, 2014 85bu Kokugyo prize.  In 2014 she was too small to challenge for GC, and that was to be her last show.

Sakai Fish Farm

Sakai Fish Farm

This Sanke was awarded Superior Champion at the 2013 All Japan Koi Show, at that time in the 80bu class.  Entered in 90bu in 2015 she was in my top 5 for the GC title, but really an outside bet.  When it came down to voting 2 Kohaku had amassed over half of the available votes between them and the final decision for GC taken between those 2.

As I am sure you will agree there have been some truly superb Sanke displayed over recent years, sadly all seemingly lacking that little something sufficient to elevate them to the ultimate prize of Grand Champion.  The 85bu and 80bu candidates at this year’s All Japan Koi Show will surely give as an indication whether that run of Kohaku and Showa Grand Champions will be broken in the short term.


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Be sure to let us know your thoughts on the Sanke posted above.


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