The History & The Future

Since the first attempts at Koi breeding in Niigata over a century ago, Koi breeders have been slowly and deliberately breeding ‘out’ the original traits of the wild carp and breeding ‘in’ the Nishikigoi qualities. But as with the breeding of any animal from time to time new blood has to be introduced. The last well known change to Nishikigoi came with Toshio Sakai adding Magoi blood and therefore creating modern Matsunosuke Koi. But since then there has been no new bloodlines created and breeding is concentrated around the tried and tested, such as Dainichi, Sensuke, Sadazo and Matsunosuke.

Yohei ShowaKoi No Yohei, a Farm based near Toyota City in the Aichi Prefecture has been trying to follow a different path and have been breeding from the Hiranaga Carp to create a new ‘super’ bloodline. The Hiranaga fish or White Magoi as we have called it in the West is almost mythical by reputation, mainly due to its acute rareness.

The Hiranaga fish in essence is a natural wild Magoi that is lacking in the black pigment (not, it should be emphasised as poor translation had previously indicated, an albino specimen) and it is this fish that the father and son team of Yohei and Mamoru Nagasaki have been using to try and create a new bloodline.

Their efforts had not gone unnoticed by other Japanese Nishikigoi breeders as they had regularly been producing very fast growing Koi, but their Koi had lacked the refinements and quality needed to make any real impression at the higher levels.

To father a new bloodline you have to create every aspect that a Koi needs to be beautiful. To try and use an unknown quantity such as a white Magoi to create a new high quality bloodline was a path that no one expected would have any success. Mamouru and Yohei Nagasaki had struggled frustratingly with one particular aspect and that was the Teri (lustre) and Tsuya (shine) of their monster Koi. It was these two attributes that the Hiranaga blood had an annoying habit of masking. This continued to be a problem for some years as the intention was not just to create larger sized koi but koi that also challenged any other in Japan in the quality stakes as well.

When in Japan I have always made sure that I have time to discuss everything that is ‘Nishikigoi’ with as many breeders as possible. Over the years I had often asked what they thought of the Koi No Yohei fish and they all said the same thing ‘Big Koi with fantastic bodies, but not beautiful!’ When I also asked what chances had the Nagasaki family of achieving success with their new bloodline the answer was either, that they will grow old trying, or go back to using Nishikigoi after a few attempts.

When I tried the hypothetical question of ‘What if they actually succeed?’ (The question that would explain why they are bothering to try in the first place) the more jovial characters often joked that ‘it will be like winning the lottery!’ The more serious characters commented that ‘it could revolutionise Nishikigoi and create a new household name’. A few even said “if they pull it off we’re all in trouble!

Well, seven years of trying ‘the impossible’ has become ‘the possible’, as Mamouru and Yohei Nagasaki have succeeded in their quest and are now producing Top Class Nishikigoi, in not one, but five different varieties; Kohaku, Sanke, Showa, Goshiki and Yamabuki Ogon. To make this breakthrough with one variety would have been amazing, but FIVE varieties is in the realms of fantasy.

Gone are the huge but pale Koi, to be replaced by the fastest growing, strongest and now importantly, stunningly beautiful New Hybrid Koi. They have used the term New Hybrid as their way of trying to show that although still Koi, their New Hybrids are a new bloodline and should not be confused with normal Nishikigoi strains. It also illustrates a certain honesty that they do not deny modifying their koi’s genetics.

There are some major differences between New Hybrid Koi and traditional Koi and some subtle ones. The most remarkable trait that these Koi have is the ‘Holy Grail’ of any breeder. Fantastic natural growth. The word “natural” cannot be over emphasised. Their attempts at breeding these Koi had always resulted in fast growing Koi but now they have improved even that. Koi from Koi No Yohei had regularly achieved 50-60cm as Nisai and 65-70cm as Sansai but now they have reached another level.

The New Hybrid Nisai now achieve an incredible 60-65cm at just 17-18 months of age! And an unprecedented 70+ as Sansai. As Tosai the New Hybrid Koi grow over 1cm per week! (This is in indoor stock ponds, not outdoor growing ponds). I personally witnessed 5 month old Tosai that were over 30cm.

The difference with the New Hybrid Koi and other farms that produce fast growing Koi is that the Yohei Koi do it with the aid of the Hiranaga blood whereas all others are using selected Nishikigoi blood. It is here that one of the subtle differences occurs.

Mud PondWhen New Hybrid Koi reach 80cm plus they have a much more muscular and obviously more youthful look than other Koi, as their mass is genuinely made of a higher percentage of muscle to fat, whereas other lineages rely on a much higher percentage of fat to achieve their shape.
The most obvious way this difference manifests itself is in their movement. New Hybrid Koi swim with vigour and have the movement of an aggressive Nisai even when over 85cm, whereas other Koi of a similar size are quite docile and lethargic in their movements. One of the other subtle differences that highlights the advantage of the Hiranaga Blood is apparent when many Koi of just Nishikigoi blood are grown fast. A common failing that affects many Koi is the inability of the Bones to grow strong or fast enough. A common example of this is the front bone on the pectoral fins. It is now quite common to see poor pectoral fins with short leading rays. New Hybrid Koi do not suffer this flaw as they are not struggling to grow their structure in anyway.

Another area where the Hiranaga blood plays a major role is with strength and resistance to diseases. As you cannot measure this in any exact context, the easiest way to show this is to explain where Koi No Yohei keeps their customers Koi.White Magoi

If you purchase a Koi from the Farm at Harvest time (October, November) and decide to grow it on in one of their field ponds, the Koi is not kept indoors until the following summer as would happen at any other Farm. Your new prized possession (along with their Tategoi and all other sold Koi) will be put into a Winter Mud pond and then transferred from there to the summer pond at the start of the following summer. The only Koi that stay in their concrete ponds are the ones they want to sell! Only a breeder with supreme confidence in the strength of their fish would put all the most expensive Koi outside all winter.

After viewing their Tosai and Nisai recently and having seen them in previous years I was staggered by the improvement. The conformation and the strength of the Koi are always unmistakable, but the quality is now right up there with the very best. The Shiroji (white skin) is now truly clean with a thick appearance, the Sumi is like ink and the Beni is a stronger red that is now deep in the scale and beautifully soft in colour. But the biggest improvement is that the Koi now possess quality Teri and Tsuya and therefore the final piece of the Nishikigoi jigsaw is now in place, New Hybrid Koi have arrived.

There are five Koi over one metre in this pond, a stunning sight!!!!

Latest News

Wholesale Koi Sales
  The key factor that controls the Dissolved Oxygen ( D.O) concentration in ponds  is the solubil...
Since the first attempts at Koi breeding in Niigata over a century ago, Koi breeders have been slowl...

Mailing List

Please input your email address below to be the first to hear about our new stock and special offers.

Super Hybrid Koi