This article was originally published on 28th February 2016 and has now been updated on 17th February 2017 to reflect changes for the 34th (2017) All Japan Young Koi Show which will be staged in Himeji, Hyogo Prefecture, on 11th and 12th March.

The ‘Wakagoi Show’ is also known as the ‘Young Koi Show’.  In Japanese the word ‘wakai’ means ‘young’, when combined with ‘Koi’ the ‘i’ is dropped and the ‘K’, as is often the case, becomes a ‘G’ giving us ‘wakagoi’.

There are several misnomers regarding naming convention here.  Firstly the simple fact that it is the ‘Young Koi Show’ would suggest that there is some kind of age restriction on the Koi that can be entered.  There isn’t, the only restrictions relate to size, the maximum being 63cm (increased from 58cm in 2003 presumably to reflect the increasing size attainable by 2 and 3 year old Koi).  Other misnomers are that there is a ‘Mature Champion’ prize awarded to the best Koi in 48bu-63bu, and ‘Young Champion’ prize for the best Koi in 28bu-43bu.  But hey, what’s in a name?

The rest of the awards are effectively the same as the All Japan Koi Show, it is just the size classes that differ and there is no distinction made between males and females.

Size classes

  • Size divisions are from 12cm up to 63cm, 12cm, 15cm, 18cm and then in steps of 5cm, i.e. 23, 28, etc.
  • The number represents the maximum length of Koi in that division, i.e. 53bu is for Koi over 48cm and up to 53cm.
  • The division is referred to as ‘bu’, i.e. 25bu, but please note that ‘bu’ is not a direct translation of ‘cm’, i.e. 63bu is incorrect.
  • Koi entered in sizes 12bu – 43bu will be judged in vinyl bags.

Variety classes

There are now 21 ‘general variety classes’.  The Mujimono class introduced at the 2016 All Japan Koi Show is also present at the Wakagoi show with effect from this year –

General Variety Classes

  1. Kohaku
  2. Taisho Sanke
  3. Showa Sanshoku
  4. Shiro Utsuri
  5. Hikari Muji
  6. Hikari Moyo
  7. Asagi
  8. Shusui
  9. Kawarigoi
  10. Goshiki
  11. A Ginrin (Gosanke)
  12. B Ginrin (other than A Ginrin)
  13. Bekko
  14. Hikari Utsuri
  15. Tancho
  16. Koromo
  17. Doitsu Koi (excluding Shusui, Hikarimono, and Kumonryu)
  18. Kujaku (including Doitsu Kujaku)
  19. Kumonryu
  20. Hi Utsuri / Ki Utsuri
  21. Muji Mono


The following prizes are awarded.

Overall Grand Champion

– selected from all Koi by all judges, each judge having one vote. Up to 3 ballots may be required until any single Koi receives the required 50% majority vote.

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Himeji Castle Champion

A special prize for the 34th (2017) All Japan Young Koi Show

–  selected by all the judges from the winners of best in Miyabi, Sakura, Botan and Tsubaki prizes.

Size Division Overall Champions

– (selected from Kokugyo Award winners)

  • Baby Champion (12bu-23bu)
  • Young Champion (28bu-43bu)
  • Mature Champion (48bu-63bu)

Kokugyo Award

– (16 awards) awarded to the best Koi in each size division. Grand Champion takes overall Kokugyo.  Baby, Young and Mature champions are also Kokugyo winners.

Best in Variety

– (21 awards) awarded to the best example in each variety classification, irrespective of size.  Winners of Kokugyo, Miyabi, Sakura, Tsubaki and Botan awards are excluded from Best in Variety awards.

Miyabi Award

– (12 awards) awarded to best Gosanke (including Shiro Utsuri) in each size classification.  1 Koi will be awarded Miyabi Grand Prize (Best of Miyabi).

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Sakura Award

– (12 awards) awarded to the best from Goshiki, Kawarigoi, Ginrin A, Ginrin B and Kujaku varieties in each size classification. 1 Koi will be awarded Sakura Grand Prize (Best of Sakura).

Tsubaki Award

– (12 awards) awarded to the best from Tancho, Koromo, Doitsugoi, Hikarimoyo, Kumonryu varieties in each size classification.  1 Koi will be awarded Tsubaki Grand Prize (Best of Tsubaki).

Botan Award

– (17 awards) awarded to the best from Hi Utsuri/Ki Utsuri, Shusui, Asagi, Bekko, Hikariutsuri, Hikarimuji, Muji Mono varieties in each size classification.  1 Koi will be awarded Botan Grand Prize (Best of Botan).


– (1 Koi for every 252 category), in essence best in size and variety. A considerable number of runners-up prizes are are given, both first runner up and honourable mentions, the exact number varying depending on the number of entries per category.

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