Know ‘em – Sell ‘em Koromo

Tom and Cindys Goromo won Best in Class Goromo at the Koi Club of San Diegos 3rd Annual Koi Show April 1989. Photo by Tom Graham.
Tom and Cindys Goromo won Best in Class Goromo at the Koi Club of San Diegos 3rd Annual Koi Show April 1989. Photo by Tom Graham.

Some may be confused by the variety called Koromo, as the koi of that variety are known as Goromo. A Goromo is a white koi with a red Kohaku-like pattern where the scales over the red have distinct black, grey or blue reticulation (sharp quarter moon edging). This coloration varies from a light brushing to nearly opaque blue or black.

Goromo fall into three primary sub-classifications:

Ai Goromo, the reticulation on the red scales has a light blue cast.

Sumi Goromo, the reticulation is black and heavier than the Ai Goromo.

Budo Goromo, the reticulation on the red scales gives a purplish or grape colored appearance.

Ai – Indigo Blue
Sumi – Black
Budo – Purplish

In Japanese, the word Goromo means robed. The scales look like they are robed with color. The blue or black on the red can look similar to the netting on an Asagi. Goromo were actually created by crossing Kohaku with Asagi, yielding the net pattern. In the Goromo the net pattern should only appear on the red areas.

The white should be very white; this helps make the color pattern stand out. In addition, the kiwa (edge of pattern) should be very sharp. Since this is also a variation of Kohaku, the pattern should be like a good Kohaku.

Many koi shows combine Goromo and Goshiki into a single class for judging, as Goshiki and Goromo have some similarities. A Goshiki is a cross of a Sanke and Asagi. While the varieties are similar in some ways, they are each unique and dramatic. Ideally, the netting on a modern Goshiki is exactly opposite of a Goromo, with netting on the white (or light blue/gray) areas only where Goromo should have no netting on the white.

Negatives to watch out for are unevenness of the reticulation pattern, weak or unbalanced placement of the red patches. Black spots are also considered a negative, however if they approach the size and quality of a Sanke, they are sometimes called a Goromo Sanke.

When selling young Goromo those where the black netting is lighter are more valuable, as black will always darken as the koi ages. If the reticulation is dark as a yearling, it could well overwhelm the red when the koi matures. While it is difficult to predict how the black or blue will develop the white should be clean, with no freckles or other black spots. Remember to point out to your customers Goromo with nicely balanced Kohaku (red) patterns.

Goromo can be a striking addition to a customer’s pond. Your customers will enjoy watching them change as they mature over the years. They will want to collect different varieties, and will search out better quality choices as their eye for the variety improves. Happy selling.

HINT: The plural for Goromo is also Goromo, so you can see one Goromo or a dozen Goromo, just like Koi. One Koi or many Koi.

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