This article first appeared in issue 636 of English Rinko magazine published on the 15th August 2015. For more information on Rinko magazine and how to subscribe please visit – http://www.snkkoi.com/onlinerinkopdf/index.html.

It never goes without mentioning the Minuma Goshiki when we talk about the Goshiki and the Ginrin Goshiki varieties. Both have been very active at many Koi shows recently. Koi-no-Minuma was founded as a distributor of Nishikigoi. It was the second generation of proprietors, Kenichi Wada and Riki Wada, who started breeding Koi. Within less than twenty years, they came to be called one of the top breeders of Goshiki. We are going to introduce their attitude toward Koi shows and a variation of production processes along with photos.

Exterior view of Minuma Koi Farm

Exterior view of Minuma Koi Farm

Exterior view of Minuma Koi Farm

Exterior view of Minuma Koi Farm

Kenichi Wada

Kenichi Wada

Wada uses the same type-font which an American Koi dealer presented to him 30 years ago as the farm's logo on their sign

Wada uses the same type-font which an American Koi dealer presented to him 30
years ago as the farm’s logo on their sign
board and his business cards.

Changing from distributor to breeder of Koi

I heard Koi-no-Minuma started as a Koi distributor.

Wada: Yes, our father ran a store in Urawa City and was selling Koi bred by various breeders. Minuma is the place name. As the rapid development of the neighborhood made progress, our store came to be surrounded by many houses. The regulations of land exploitation combined with a narrow old store made us decide to move to the city of Kuki about 20 years ago. Today our main business is Koi production.

As a Koi breeder, you also sell retail, don’t you?

Wada: Yeah, we sell our Koi to old customers and new local customers at retail.

Do you do mail-order sales as well?


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Wada: As you know, we are originally a Koi distributor. We know the importance of after-sales service. We think we cannot provide satisfactory service for distant customers, so we recommend them to buy Koi from Koi traders in their neighborhood.

Enchanted by breeding the Goshiki variety

You mentioned that the growth of this year’s first fry has been making satisfactory progress. What varieties are you actually breeding?

Wada: We breed Goshiki, Ginrin Goshiki and Showa Sanshoku varieties every year. Four of the Goshiki’s and three of the Ginrin’s Koi parents have been set. We try two of the experimental spawning or crossings of other varieties respectively. In an average year, we produce two Showa Sanshoku, and an additional two varieties among Ginrin Kohaku, Kohaku and Ginrin Showa in rotation.

Minuma fry ponds

Minuma fry ponds

Minuma fry

Minuma fry

Have you been producing the Showa Sanshoku variety since you started breeding Koi?

Wada: Our current Showa Sanshoku Koi parents are home-bred, but their origins are Dainichi and Isa Showa lines. In the production of Goshiki, we always keep exhibiting them with Koi shows in mind. On the contrary, we have been trying to produce Showa Sanshoku which have our favorite marking patterns and grow larger.

How did you come to specify the Goshiki variety?


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Wada: When we started breeding Koi about 20 years ago, a Goshiki boom was also about to start. Some beautiful Goshiki bred by Yozen, Kawakami and Hosokai Koi Farms in Niigata, and Hiroshima’s Sakai Fish Farm, were displayed at Koi shows. Though their number was not large, they were all very impressive Koi. So we searched for some Goshiki to purchase, but their number was too small.

If that is the case, you’d better produce Goshiki yourself, right?

Wada: At that very moment, we saw our favorite Goshiki exhibited at a Koi show. Luckily, we got a wonderful opportunity to obtain it. After that, one of our customers purchased it. When it was entered in the 28th All Japan Koi Show, it won the Kokugyo Prize. I was overjoyed to hear about the victory. After the show, we repurchased it and started using it as a Koi parent.

28th All Japan Koi Show - 25 bu Kokugyo Prize Goshiki

28th All Japan Koi Show – 25 bu Kokugyo Prize Goshiki

That is the origin of Minuma Goshiki, right?

Wada: Yes. It was a male Goshiki so we interbred with a Sakai-bred female Goshiki which our father had stocked when our shop was in Urawa. They were the first Koi parents. One of their offspring won the Kokugyo Prize at the 19th All Japan Young Koi Show.

1 9th All Japan Young Koi Show - 43 bu Kokugyo Prize Goshiki

1 9th All Japan Young Koi Show – 43 bu Kokugyo Prize Goshiki

All went well with your Goshiki production, right?


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Aiming for improving the size of Goshiki and Ginrin Goshiki

You also started producing Ginrin Goshiki after the Goshiki production had been put on track, right?

Wada: Well, we were considering how to grow our Goshiki larger about ten years ago. Our customers and we were entering our Goshiki in Koi shows when they were quite young, so we had no other Goshiki to grow larger. We decided not to enter our Goshiki for a while and we had to provide a successor to Goshiki. We began producing Ginrin Goshiki. Fortunately, our Ginrin Goshiki also won a prize in the first year.

What are their koi parents?

Wada: We crossed Kawakami Koi Farm’s male Ginrin Goshiki with our female Goshiki. We still cross Goshiki with Ginrin Goshiki and try to keep the same line.

What is the percent-age of getting Ginrin Goshiki from that crossing?

Wada: The result varies each time. We may get Ginrin Goshiki more than half, fifty-fifty, or less than half of the time.


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Are you intentionally crossing Goshiki with Ginrin Goshiki?

Wada: To tell the actual circumstances, we could not get two large Ginrin Goshiki koi parents at the same time, because some of them were entered at Koi shows. Today many of our Ginrin Goshiki have grown quite large, so we can try to spawn like parents.

The 85bu Ginrin Goshiki that won the Best in Variety Prize for two straight years is quite large, isn’t it?

Wada: That fish won the Sakura Prize when it was a Tosai. We were raising the fish at the Narita Koi Farm’s request. When it turned three or four years old, we felt it would grow much larger and consulted with Narita Koi Farm. They decided to grow it themselves. We have seen the fish at some koi shows and every time it had grown larger.

Ginrin Goshiki, in general, are hard to grow very large. However, this one is six years old and that much long. I think its inherited tendencies and Narita Koi Farm’s breeding skills perfectly matched.

Yearly change of the Ginrin Goshiki which won the Best in Variety Prize in 2013 and 2014

Yearly change of the Ginrin Goshiki which won the Best in Variety Prize in 2013 and 2014

It’s amazing that the fish have been keeping the quality and pattern of Beni markings unchanged. Do you think your efforts to enlarge the Goshiki variety paid off?


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Wada: I’d say we’re just one step short. Getting large size Koi by crossing with a larger Koi may be possible. But the problem is we can’t always get larger size Goshiki even if we cross a Goshiki with a large size Kohaku.

It’s almost ten years since we started improving the size of Goshiki. The harder the task is, the more worth it, it is to carry it out. Winning the Miyajima grand prize was a turning point. It’s only these four or five years that we got some varieties of satisfactory Goshiki Koi parents. We place our hopes on them.

Minuma Goshiki - October 2014

Minuma Goshiki – October 2014

The pictures above and below show the dramatic change in the Goshiki which won the Miyajima Grand Prize at the 32nd All Japan Young Koi Show.

Minuma Goshiki, Miyajima Grand Prize Winner, 32nd All Japan Young Koi Show - March 2015

Minuma Goshiki, Miyajima Grand Prize Winner, 32nd All Japan Young Koi Show – March 2015

I am sure Minuma Goshiki fans all over Japan are looking forward to their offspring.

 


 


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Part 2 of this article will be published on Nishikigoi.Life on 30th January 2017.

Many thanks to Shuji Fujita, publisher of Rinko magazine for authorising the re-publication of this content.  The content remains copyright of the original publisher and must not be reproduced in any way without their express permission, all rights reserved.


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