Mr. Takeo Kuroki, founder and first chairman of Zen Nippon Airinkai, defines Nishikigoi as follows: Nishikigoi is a generic term for Koi which have colors and patches and are raised for appreciation.
200 years ago in Niigata Prefecture's Yamakoshi Village and the surrounding areas, the farm-raised edible Koi started mutating. Some of the breeders noticed, on rare occasions, Koi with red and yellow patches, and they started to breed the colored Koi. This is the historical origins of Nishikigoi. In the Meiji Era, the frase beautiful Koi exist in this world made the rounds among the people, and varieties such as Kohaku were developed.
The Taisho Exposition was held in the 3rd year of the Taisho Era (1914), which is when Nishikigoi started to become more popular in the society. The varieties produced and established in the Taisho Era are Taisho Sanshoku, Shiro Utsuri, Ki Utsuri, and Asagi, and in the Showa Era, Showa Sanshoku, Kin Uchiwa, Gin Uchiwa, and Kin Kabuto. In the 7th year of the Showa Era (1932), Niigata Fisheries Experiment Station established the Agano River Breeding Pond, and modified research of Nishikigoi started as a full-time operation.
After the war, breed improvement was temporarily suspended, but with the introduction of Nezu Ogon, the Hikarimono variety was produced, and this led to the golden age of Nishikigoi. The creation of the Doitsu lineage variety such as Shusui, those crossbred with German carp and Nishikigoi, and of the Ogon variety, which was developed by 2 generations of the Aokisawa family over 25 years, played a prominent role in today's Nishikigoi development.
There are over 100 different varieties of Nishikigoi, including the fixed variety and variations. As a matter of simplification, we will specify 26 as the fixed variety, and other crossbred varieties will be called variations.
Copyright and courtesy of International Nishikigoi Promotion Center, Japan