Koi of the Doitsu variety have few to no scales. Doitsu goi are old, yet new — they were developed more than 100 years ago, but many new varieties keep coming from Doitsu varieties. Because of their characteristics, they can be crossed with almost any koi variety. Like the diamond-scaled Ginrin, Doitsu has contributed to the increased varieties of koi. Doitsu Kohaku, Doitsu Showa, Doitsu Sanke and Doitsu Shiro Utsuri are just a few of these varieties.
Koi Meets World
As you know, carp serves as a food source in many countries. Scaleless carp was originally developed as an easy fish to cook in Germany. In 1904, scaleless carp were imported to Japan as a new food source. Then, a new type of carp was introduced to Japanese scaled koi to develop what we call Doitsu now. As you might easily imagine, the Doitsu name came from “Deutsch,” which means German.
In 1908, the first Doitsu variety was developed by Mr. Kichigoro Akiyama. He crossed a scaleless female with an Asagi, creating a Shusui. If you compare Shusui and Asagi, you can understand that Shusui is the Doitsu version of Asagi, with blue scales and red markings on the sides.
Tipping the Scales
It may sound strange to pay attention to scales when we look at scaleless koi. But because Doitsu has fewer scales, how the limited scales are laid out affects the total look of the fish. One irregularly sized scale in the wrong place could affect the beauty of an otherwise perfect koi.
Doitsu goi, as mentioned above, have scales on their backs along the dorsal fins and on the lateral lines of their bodies. If there are visible scales, they should line up all the way in a consistent manner. If you think about it, it can be such a challenge to have the perfect scale layout in Doitsu. No matter how perfect everything else is, one wrong scale in Doitsu goi can affect the beauty entirely. Therefore, it’s not a surprise that breeders generally try to breed Doitsu with as few scales as possible. It is easier to breed many koi with fewer scales than to breed one koi with a perfect scale layout.
After examining the presence of scales on a Doitsu, you now go back to the basics of appreciating each variety. For example, if you were looking at a Doitsu Kohaku, after seeing the Doitsu qualities, you should see the koi as a regular, scaled Kohaku, checking the quality of hi and shiroji and the balance of the two colors.
I remember when I first started working for my father. It was about the time when Heisei Nisihki, a Doitsu version of Yamato Nishiki, came out and gained a lot of popularity. Yamato Nishiki is a metallic version of a Sanke. In other words, Heisei Nishiki is a Doitsu metallic Sanke. For some reason, I never liked Yamato Nishiki, perhaps because sumi were always weak on the metallic body. But as soon as I saw Heisei Nishiki, I could not believe how beautiful it was, simply by turning the scaled skin into leather skin. The shine of the body went very well with the three colors of Sanke.
Two of the latest Doitsu goi are Doitsu Goshiki and Doitsu metallic Ochibashigure. These varieties are still developing, and a good one may be hard to come by. But if you ever do see one, you may not want to miss it, and you certainly will not forget it.
Marketing the Doitsu variety should not be difficult, especially considering the metallic bodies. Many people cherish the smooth skin of these koi; you just may need to teach them these basic points of appreciation.
Recommending specific breeders for this kind is not easy, because Doitsu can be bred from many varieties. Koshiji Koi Farm is definitely a good place to start. Aokiya Koi Farm and Marusaka Koi Farm in Niigata are also worth checking out.