For the Love of Goshiki

Published on September 1, 2012

Goshki (photo by Taro Kodama)
Goshki (photo by Taro Kodama)

I have been a Koi hobbyist for 25 plus years, and in that time my tastes in Koi have changed quit a lot. Like most newbies to the hobby, I gravitated to the shiny Koi. The metallic yamabuki’s and platinum’s always caught my eye. At some point, we all take stock of what’s in our ponds and I noticed that I had very little color. I have found that adding more reds to the ponds really makes the other color pop.

I appreciate Kohahu for their simple beauty and I like Sanke, though I have very few of them. I find it hard to find ones I like; maybe I’m a bit critical. Showa on the other hand are my favorite variety of Koi and I’m especially partial to Doitsu Showa, of which I have many.

After so many years of Koi keeping and collecting, I started taking note of the less popular varieties. Maybe the words less popular aren’t the best description, what I mean is, non-Gosanke varieties. About 11 or so years ago I was fortunate enough to visit one of my then Koi suppliers in Texas, Brett’s Koi Farm. Brett Rowely is one of the most humble “Koi experts” I have ever met! He is extremely knowledgeable and passionate about his “Koi hobby”. To say it’s a hobby is really quit amusing because most of us Koi people don’t have rows of million gallon mud ponds…lol.

I blame Brett for my other love, the Goshiki, because he started me on them. Back in the day it was his favorite variety and he was busy breeding them like crazy. I have over the past 5 or 6 years really started appreciating the variety even more. It’s said the Goshiki was created breeding an Asagi and a Sanke. Goshiki means five colors and that comes from the black, white & red of the Sanke and the blue and navy of the Asagi. I have tried in vain to keep the background color of my Goshiki light but they always inevitably go dark, almost black. I like the net pattern of the Asagi between the Kohaku patterns but with our higher pH, it tends to darken up. Having said that, I have decided that I really do like the dark background in contrast to the very thick beni (red). I guess you could say it’s grown on me.

A good Goshiki can seem to be hard to find if you’re not sure what you’re looking for. Because the red pattern is going to be a substantial part of the beauty of the Koi, you really need to look for a balanced Kohaku type pattern. The beni thickens as the Koi grows and any faint black spots disappear, hopefully! What I find so intriguing about the Goshiki is the way the beni just appears to float on top of the darker background. The red gets so thick it’s just amazing! Next time you find yourself searching your local dealers tanks for that “one last Koi”, check out some Goshiki and be prepared to be amazed! They are one of the varieties that gets better with time and is fun to watch develop!

Okanagan Koi
Dayleen Van Ryswyk aka “The Koi Lady”
1605 Garner Road
Kelowna, British Columbia V1P 1E5

Phone: 250-765-Koi1

Japanese Koi Kodama

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