Last week I posted about the Purdin Koi Farm Goshiki line – http://nishikigoi.life/2018/11/14/purdin-koi-farm-2018-goshiki-tosai/.  In this post I want to look at Purdin Koi Farm’s Yamaguchi Showa line, something that I think will deliver some very exciting Koi over the next few years……

I first encountered the ‘Yamaguchi’ female back in 2015 on my first visit to Purdin, I’m guessing she was 3-4 years old at the time.

'Yamaguchi' Showa Parent - Photographed November 2015

‘Yamaguchi’ Showa Parent – Photographed November 2015

She was swimming in ‘The River’ then, as she is now, I can’t recall what my impression of her was at the time to be perfectly honest, she was one of a number of Koi that were pulled up from the river that day.

It wasn’t until 15th May 2017 that this Koi would enter into the breeding programme at the farm.  She was placed together with 3 males, 2 of which had been bred at Purdin Koi Farm from Ueno bloodline, and 1 that had been imported in 2015, bred by Isa Koi Farm.

The first video below shows the males being placed together:


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This video shows the female (mistakenly called ‘Ueno’) being picked up and then later the parent set together.

That night’s spawning proceeded as hoped, the Koi spawned, the fry hatched and were released to the mud pond to grow.

Unfortunately the pond they were released into was devastated by cormorants, it was a salvage operation to get anything out of the pond that was possible.

If we fast forward to April 2018, just 3 Yamaguchi babies were selected to go into the grow out ponds to Nisai.

Purdin Yamaguchi Showa Tosai, 31cm

Purdin Yamaguchi Showa Tosai, 31cm

Purdin Yamaguchi Showa Tosai, 29cm

Purdin Yamaguchi Showa Tosai, 29cm

Purdin Yamaguchi Showa Tosai, 25cm

Purdin Yamaguchi Showa Tosai, 25cm

If we step forward to the present day briefly, the most exciting prospect of the 3 Koi above is probably the first one.


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Purdin Yamaguchi Showa, Nisai, Female, 51cm

Purdin Yamaguchi Showa, Nisai, Female, 51cm

The pictures above were taken a few days ago, the Koi now nisai (18 months old).

When I shared this set of picture on Facebook I wrote:

‘Did I ever mention sumi?

This one of only a couple of Yamaguchi bloodline nisai at Purdin Koi Farm.

The characteristic sumi is very evident in a number of tosai though, which bodes well for future generations (as long as Scott, Bill and Maureen concur my love of sumi…….’

To reflect, 1 interesting Showa, the result of a massive investment in time and money, sleepless nights, and plenty of sweat (my waders testify to that).  A number of years ago my good friend Masaru Saito of Shintaro Koi Farm taught me a lesson.  He let me twice net, in the heat of the midday sun, then select a pond of ‘experimental’ Sanke.  He knew the spawning was a failure.  Having toiled in the afternoon sun, me having nothing to show for it, he stated, ‘You think breeding is so easy!’.  The words live with me every day, I’ve recounted the story many times.


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Step backward now to spring 2018.  The Yamaguchi female had spent the winter in the mud pond at Purdin to prepare her for spawning. It was a proper winter, with very rare snow, the well water however kept them warm.

Purdin female parents in the mud pond

Purdin female parents in the mud pond

One of the Koi in this pond was the female which I detailed in this post back in 2016 – http://nishikigoi.life/2016/03/18/showa-match-made-heaven/.  An attempt had been used to breed her in 2017 but she wouldn’t release eggs.  She was also placed into the mud pond over winter in a hope to condition her for spawning in 2018.

10th April 2018 - female parent mud pond draining

10th April 2018 – female parent mud pond draining

On 10th April Bill had started to drain the mud pond in preparation for harvesting the females the following day and bring them into the breeding facility.

Inside the breeding facility Maureen was busy cleaning one of the concrete pond into which the males for the forthcoming spawning would be placed.

Outside a dramatic turn of events was about to take place….

10th April 2018, Maureen cleaning indoor concrete pond ready for male parents

10th April 2018, Maureen cleaning indoor concrete pond ready for male parents

Myself and Bill were around the female mud pond chatting and out of the corner of my eye I was watching 2 of the Koi nudging along the bank in the shallow dropping water.  Suddenly there was a splash.  I said to Bill, ‘It looks like they were spawning!’.  ‘Impossible’, Bill said, they are all females.  Intrigued Bill went off to look closer and right in front of his eyes the Yamaguchi female released eggs as the ‘female’ below pursued her.


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Purdin Koi Farm female Showa

Purdin Koi Farm female Showa

You may sit reading this thinking ‘how can that possibly happen, how could it possibly be mistaken for a female’.  This Koi had spent its whole life from 12 months onwards with female Koi, at no time had she tried to spawn with them.  She had been in ‘The River’ for several years and had never tried to spawn with the females in there.  At no time had she given any reason to suspect she was a male Koi.  There are many occasions when I’ve been to harvests where ‘flock’ spawning have taken place with a rogue male appearing from seemingly nowhere.  Indeed, I vividly recall one Masao Kato’s harvests, if I recall correctly, in 2011.  I had visited the pond a couple of days before the harvest as it was a good photo spot.  The surface was alive with baby Koi.  It was one of the only times I’ve ever known breeders want to pick up and select through the babies – there were some serious quality Koi in that pond!

As I’m sure you can imagine, there was a sudden moment of panic, obviously the male had to come out straight away, but what of the female, she was already releasing eggs, stopping her after she’d started was potentially dangerous.

A spawning net was hastily set up inside with some kinran (spawning ropes).  The Yamaguchi female and the ‘new’ male were put into it.  Scott suggested putting a couple of young nisai males that had been kept for future parents in with them to ‘learn’.

11.40am 10th April 2018, Yamaguchi Showa with males

11.40am 10th April 2018, Yamaguchi Showa with males

The above picture is the only one I have of that set of parents.  At the point it was taken I don’t think there was any real expectation of the spawning achieving anything, other than getting the eggs out of the female.

11.43am 10th April 2018, eggs from the Yamaguchi female

11.43am 10th April 2018, eggs from the Yamaguchi female

It transpired that there were eggs, fertile eggs, fry hatched and were released to the fry ponds.  It became the first spawning of the 2018 harvest season.

You can read about some of the offspring in and the selections, including video conversation about them at the following links – Purdin Koi Farm Yamaguchi Showa mud pond selection completed and Purdin’s Yamaguchi Showa Selection for 90,000 Gallon Grow Out Pond.


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Below we’ll take a look at some of those Koi now that they have been harvested from the 90,000 gallon grow out pond.

The first 4 Koi appeared in this post – Purdin’s Yamaguchi Showa Selection for 90,000 Gallon Grow Out Pond – and had made it through from the pick I’d made a couple of weeks earlier – Purdin Koi Farm Yamaguchi Showa mud pond selection completed.  I know where the missing ones are, one continues to swim in the main tategoi pond but wasn’t photographed, one is in the next grade down pond.

This first one was always a favourite, in one of the posts above you can find it photographed from all angles.  I shared this example on Facebook a few days ago and wrote:

‘It would be easy to think that this Showa was going to become very black due to the underlying colour.

As we can see by the picture taken yesterday, that base black has all dropped back, the only sumi we really see is that which was upper most at the earliest stages remain.

Also, it’s interesting to note the development of the Beni pattern on the head which was in complete in the earliest pictures but has now filled in.


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Interested to see how the development progresses over winter from this Showa bred from the Yamaguchi female.’

Purdin Yamaguchi Showa Tosai

Purdin Yamaguchi Showa Tosai

Not so sure I’m too excited by the next 2 to be honest, we’ll see how they figure out over winter.

Purdin Yamaguchi Showa Tosai

Purdin Yamaguchi Showa Tosai

Purdin Yamaguchi Showa Tosai

Purdin Yamaguchi Showa Tosai

This Koi has been one that fascinated me from the very first photograph on 11th June.  I remember sitting back at the computer looking at the images from that day thinking to myself, ‘why did I photograph that’.  On the 26th June Bill and Scott had put it through to the 90,000 gallon pond for growing.  Seeing it in the flesh I could instantly see why I’d selected it to photograph a couple of weeks earlier.  Back at the computer I again couldn’t see it.  It’s another fascinating example of how sumi develops.  It’s a fish that needs to be shown very soon……

Purdin Yamaguchi Showa Tosai

Purdin Yamaguchi Showa Tosai

This Showa was sold at the harvest weekend.  Very possibly the number 1 Tosai at the moment.  Looking at where the underlying sumi is on the extensive white ground it just threatens to ‘pop’ and work beautifully from head to tail.  Has a really solid frame as well.  Motoguro in both fins.  Fingers, toes, and everything else cross with this one, not least for the customer.

Purdin Yamaguchi Showa Tosai

Purdin Yamaguchi Showa Tosai

This was perhaps the best tosai we picked up on 18th November, at least in my opinion.  I’m intrigued to see what happens with all that underlying sumi

Purdin Yamaguchi Showa Tosai

Purdin Yamaguchi Showa Tosai

This is a tosai that Bill and Scott rated highly, it just isn’t my ‘style’.


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Purdin Yamaguchi Showa Tosai

Purdin Yamaguchi Showa Tosai

How this will develop only time will tell.

Purdin Yamaguchi Showa Tosai

Purdin Yamaguchi Showa Tosai

I really rather like this.  I hope the sumi will come to complement the slightly one sided beni pattern.  The Motoguro is lovely and compact at the base of the pectoral fins.

Purdin Yamaguchi Showa Tosai

Purdin Yamaguchi Showa Tosai

To be honest, I don’t think the last 2 are in the same league as the ones above, time will tell.  I am sure that there are others which, over the course of winter, will leaves these 2 in the shade.

Purdin Yamaguchi Showa Tosai

Purdin Yamaguchi Showa Tosai

Purdin Yamaguchi Showa Tosai

Purdin Yamaguchi Showa Tosai

The boys that were drafted in at short notice seemingly did a good job.  Aside from those above there are many other tosai that came from the ’emergency’ Yamaguchi spawning.

Of course, that creates a desire to recreate the same in a more controlled fashion.

Yesterday myself and Scott bowled up the males that were likely responsible.


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Purdin Male Showa - Sansai

Purdin Male Showa – Sansai

All 3 of these Showa appeared here on Nishikigoi.Life back in 2017 and 2016 – http://nishikigoi.life/2017/04/18/purdin-koi-farm-tosai-showa/.

The Koi in the centre is the known male that took part in the 10th April 2018 spawning.  The thinking is that the one on the right was the other that took part.

So, 2 years of attempts to spawn the Yamaguchi Showa have been dogged with unexpected problems, yet despite that the potential is clearly there.  Hopefully 2019 will be the year the pieces of the jigsaw align correctly…….watch this space……


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