Language of Koi – Hariwake

Hariwake koi variety
Hariwake koi variety

Spend any time talking to koi hobbyists and you are likely to hear the saying “Koi keeping begins and ends with Kohaku.” However, some do not realize that Kohaku have a flashy, metallic cousin, Hariwake, which can provide some flair to the palette of your koi pond.

Hariwake, benched in the Hikari Moyo category, display metallic patterns of red, orange or yellow over a metallic, platinum-white body.

What To Look For

The ideal Hariwake has a pattern that is spaced evenly and artistically about the body, but is not necessarily symmetric, similar to the pattern of Kohaku. The white of the body should be bright and unblemished. Additionally, the red, orange or yellow of the pattern should be vibrant and eye-catching, with the same hue and tone across the entire body.

The pattern can come down onto the forehead, but it will detract from the beauty of the koi if it comes down below the eyes to cover the nose. The kiwa (edges between the two colors) should be clean, crisp and well defined. As with all koi, body conformation is of the utmost importance.

There are many variations of Hariwake, some of which have garnered their own names. Doitsu (scaleless) Hariwake with an orange or red pattern are almost exclusively referred to as Kikusui (Pic A). Additionally, both scaled and Doitsu Hariwake with a bright, vibrant yellow pattern are commonly referred to as Lemon Hariwake (Pic B). And of course there are Gin Rin Hariwake (Pic C and D), and Butterfly Hariwake (Pic E and F).

Breeding and Selecting

The original Hariwake were selectively bred from a Kohaku and Platinum Ogon cross. Today, we breed only Hariwake males and females together. As with all of our breeders, we keep extensive written and photographic breeding records from year to year, to ensure that we are producing the highest quality koi possible.

A Hariwake throw will produce a surprisingly high number of solid-colored Ogon koi. A very low percentage of the spawn will be desirable Hariwake “keepers.” If you have the pleasure of selecting Hariwake at a very young age (1-2˝), look for strong metallic traits, along with the hints of a pattern starting to emerge.

As Hariwake mature, the platinum white base should firm up. Nearing one year of age, the orange or yellow pattern should show clean, crisp edges, with a consistent tone across different areas of the body. Ideally, a balanced, artistic Kohaku-like pattern should be present by now, although this is not always the case. At this point, we select the best koi to grow out further, and send the rest to be distributed.

When the crop reaches two years of age, it is time to re-evaluate the development of each koi. Has the pattern retained a strong, even color? Hariwake with orange pattern will generally keep good color, whereas the yellow in Lemon Hariwake will almost invariably become lighter as the koi nears maturity.

What about the edges? Are they sharp and clean, or have the edges become blurry in some areas? The finest of the two-year olds are selected to grow out for potential future brood stock, while the rest of the crop becomes our Premium and Premium Select koi in the 10-18˝ range.

Selling Retail

The highest quality Hariwake have an artistic and well-balanced pattern- similar to a Kohaku- with very sharp kiwa. However, Hariwake of this quality can be quite rare. A truly high-quality specimen will regularly sell for a high price.

 Many of the Hariwake on the market today have a bright white base and good strong color to the pattern, but the pattern itself is lacking, confined to one side or end of the body, or otherwise not spaced in a desirable manner.

Consider stocking Kikusui in addition to Hariwake, as quality Kikusui seem to be available in slightly higher numbers than scaled Hariwake. Butterfly Hariwake can also provide a welcome addition, especially for your customers that prefer the long-fin variety.

A Fine Addition

While no Hariwake are likely to win a Grand Champion award anytime soon, they are certainly a bright and flashy addition to any pond. In fact, finding and developing a truly high quality Hariwake can be quite a challenge, even for the most experienced hobbyists.

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