Language of Koi – Goshiki Defined

Gin Rin Goshiki Photo by Koi Enterprise
Gin Rin Goshiki Photo by Koi Enterprise

The meaning of Goshiki is “Five Colors” in Japanese. Generally speaking the colors of Goshiki are white, red, black, and two shades of blue. The base color of the koi is white. The pattern markings are red. The scales develop blue colors and a black outlining or reticulation (net pattern).

The Goshiki have been developed by using Asagi as a parent so we normally see a gray background with a bright hi (red) pattern. It has changed throughout the years to what we now know as Old Style Goshiki and New Style Goshiki.

Old Style

The Old Style Goshiki have heavy and dark reticulation on the scales. The reticulation may also appear on the scales of the hi pattern. Usually the Old Style Goshiki turn quite dark over time and may appear as a dark gray koi with vivid red markings.

New Style

The New Style Goshiki have predominately more white base showing with lighter gray reticulation on the scales and little or no reticulation on the pattern. It will have a bright almost fluorescent hi pattern.

Goshiki are sensitive to water temperatures and they may react with changes to their base color. They can change to a lighter color in high water temperatures and become darker in cooler water. Usually the hi pattern remains unchanged.

Goshiki babies can resemble small Kohaku because the gray color takes time to develop and is not obvious at fingerling size. The background color begins to emerge at approximately 5˝ in size and does not appear all at once. A fish that looks like a dirty little Kohaku ‘mutt’ may actually turn out to be a true gem of your koi collection.

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