Getting to know Kohaku Koi Fish – Complete Information

‘Kohaku’ in Japanese means red and white.  Kohaku koi fish is a variety of koi that is always discussed before other varieties. Not only because the kohaku was discovered for the first time, but because this Kohaku figure is indeed special.

With only two colors, Kohaku is very elegant. The simplicity of the colors on its back makes Kohaku look contrasting when in a crowd of other koi.

In the koi world there is a parable: “Keeping Koi begins and ends with the kohaku,” the point is that at first glance, everyone will tend to be attracted to the beauty of the kohaku. Then other varieties were chosen such as Showa, Sanke, Ogon etc. For koi lovers and collectors who have been around hunting for various other koi varieties, in the end their choice will return to Kohaku. Thus, the kohaku was actually Koi’s first model.

The beginning of Kohaku Koi Fish

In around 1820, red and white carp were discovered. Through the mutation process, the koi that are red on their necks, in Japan, are known as “Hookazuki” (from the word Kazuku, which means family) from the parent black carp.

Then the white koi was born from “Hookazuki”. The white koi are then mated with the red koi (Higoi). From this marriage was born the White Koi with a red spot on its stomach called ‘Haraka’ (Red Belly). Hara means flat and Aka which means red. Then koi with red patches on the gill covers are raised, namely ‘Hoo Aka’ (Red cheeks) or ‘Era Hi’ (Red Gill). Hi means red.

At the end of 1830 the ‘Zukinkaburi’ (Zukin means veil, Kaburi means to wear, cover) was born, namely the koi with some red color on the head.

‘Menkaburi’ (Men means mask) red koi covering the entire head and ‘kuchibeni’ (Kuchi means red lips and red) koi with red lips (lipstick).

Koi is also known as Sarasa (Sarasa means printed cloth) which is the back color of red and white.

During the Meiji era, Kohaku had spread throughout Yamakoshi (now known as Niigata area) where, Kohaku was first cultivated by a koi farmer named Gosuke (real name Kunizo Hiroi) from Utogi Village (part of today’s Ojiya City).

Modern kohaku were then bred from the marriage between male koi with a red pattern shaped like flowers with a red female koi on her head. The well-patterned red kohaku continues to be developed by Yagozen and Buheita.

Colors and Patterns.

The white color (shiroji) of the kohaku koi fish is the most important element. The white color is really white like snow, not yellowish. The quality of the red color on Kohaku is good, it must be thick and even.

Kohaku Koi fish

Types of Red (hi)

There are two types of red (Hi) in kohaku, namely red based on purple (Fig. 1) and red based on orange (yellowish) (Fig. 2).

The red color with a purple base is preferred. But the most important thing is that the red color must be thick and stable (not easily changed).

Likewise, the red color should be even and not speckled. Often found a deep red color only on the head, but the red on the back is not evenly distributed.

The uneven red color is less desirable. However, for kohaku who are still young, under 1 year old (Tosai), usually the red color has not grown completely and still looks orange. However, after 3 years of age, if it is properly maintained, the red color will become more intense.

To be continued..

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