Language of Koi – Doitsu Sanke

Published on November 1, 2010

Doitsu Sanke #1 N. - Black on the face P. - Good body conformation
Doitsu Sanke #1 N. – Black on the face P. – Good body conformation

So you discover you have some scaleless koi in your inventory. Selling them will be easier if you can point out some of the common features they share, when compared to other koi. First let’s define this variety as separate words Doitsu and Sanke.

Doitsu refers to the scalation, or in this case lack of. Doitsu means scaleless or in some cases, scaleless body, but rows of oversized scales on the top and side of the koi.

They are not as common, but you will find that most koi varieties are available as doitsu. It is not exclusive to Sanke. One advantage of doitsu is the sharpness, kiwa, of the pattern.

Sanke is pronounced sawn-kay. It is a white koi with red patches like a Kohaku and black spots on the upper half of the body. Black stripes occasionally are seen on the pectoral fins or tail. Sanke generally do not have black on the face.

Another more formal name for Sanke that you will often hear is Taisho Sanke. They are also part of the classification – Gosanke. Gosanke includes the varieties Kohaku, Sanke and Showa.

Doitsu Sanke are very striking with their smooth scaleless skin. The red and black markings will jump out at you. You are looking for lacquer-like black, bright white skin and balanced red patches.

Quickly here is one negative and one positive point of each of these koi.

(Please click view all images from this article at the top of the page to find the rest of the pictures.)

Doitsu Sanke # 1 – N. – Black on the face P. – Good body conformation

Doitsu Sanke # 2 – N. – Too much red on the face P. – Nice white tail break

Doitsu Sanke # 3 – N. – black markings speckled and look more like a Showa (bands of black) P. – Interesting red pattern – like a lightening bolt

Sanke and Showa can often look very similar, so if in doubt ask the dealer or breeder you are buying the koi from.

Thank you to Shawn McHenry, Mystic Koi and Water Gardens, Upland, California for providing these pictures. www.mystickoi.com

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