Language of Koi – Hikari Utsuri

Published on January 1, 2013

Beautiful Hikari Utsuri
Beautiful Hikari Utsuri

Hikari Utsuri variety are koi like Kin Showa, Kin Ki Utsuri, Kin Hi Utsuri, Gin Shiro Utsuri. What is common here is that they are all metallic versions of Utsuri varieties. Hikari means metallic. Utsuri varieties are black-based varieties like Showa, Hi Utsuri, Ki Utsuri and Shiro Utsuri.
Because, unlike Gosanke (Kohaku, Sanke and Showa), Hikari Utsuri varieties are not as popular, there are not many breeders. This means it is more difficult to obtain high quality ones in this variety.
In appreciation of this koi variety, we take body conformation and skin quality as given. The key points for each variety that you need to look for are these attributes –

1 – Sheen

2 – Pattern of Each Variety


When you look at the name of “Koi,” what comes first is always more important than the following. Let’s take an example of Ginrin Kohaku. Ginrin Kohaku is a red and white koi (Kohaku) with diamond scales (*ginrin*). When you have an excellent Kohaku pattern koi with poor *ginrin* and a poor Kohaku pattern with excellent *ginrin*, a poor patterned Kohaku with superior *ginrin* will win. It is because the *ginrin* feature/attribute is more important than Kohaku feature. This is why we call this koi variety Ginrin Kohaku, not Kohaku Ginrin.

The same principle applies to Hikari Utsuri. It is a koi with two features: “Hikari = metallic” and “Utsuri = black based koi.” The metallic feature outweighs the feature of Utsuri variety. Therefore, the degree of the sheen is the most important key factor in the appreciation of Hikari Utsuri.

Then, how can you tell the quality of sheen? The face and the pectoral fins are the places to look at. These two areas show the innate sheen quality of the koi the most. Please look for clean and shiny face and pectoral fins.

**Pattern of Each Variety**

To understand this point, you need to understand the appreciation of Utsuri varieties such as Showa, Shiro Utsuri, Hi Utsuri and Ki Utsuri. Discussing Utsuri varieties alone could be a completely separate article, but basically it is the balance of the color combination.

• In Showa, we would like to see three colors on every part of the body.
• In Shiro Utsuri, balance of the *sumi* (black) pattern on the white skin is critical.
• In the cases of Hi Utsuri and Ki Utsuri it is the same except that they have different ground colors like red and yellow.

One important characteristics of the Utsuri variety is the presence of a *menware* pattern (*sumi* pattern that divides the face). A *menware* pattern is not a must but definitely a big plus if the koi has it.

There are two more things you need to know about pattern of Hikari Utsuri. In Hikari Utsuri, the redder it is, the higher the value. When you look at Kin Showa, for example, some have more orange hi and others have redder hi. In general, redder hi is more desirable and wins at koi shows. Thus, redder Kin Showa is usually priced higher.

It is important to know the fact that *sumi* and sheen do not get along. When you see strong *sumi*, the ground skin is not shiny most of the time and vice versa. When you see excellent sheen, the *sumi* is weak most of the time. In other words, if you do see nice sheen and *sumi* on the same body at your supplier, even if the pattern may not be the greatest (remember pattern is not the first priority), you should get it right away before another trained eye dealer gets it. And you should put a higher value for this koi.

Marketing Hikari Utsuri could be easy or difficult. Because it is a shiny koi, it looks very attractive in display ponds. They catch people’s attention and they may want to buy them. Probably the difficult part is not the selling but rather the buying. As far as Japanese Koi are concerned, because there are not many breeders and also because it is more difficult to breed these varieties than non-metallic versions, it is not easy to find quality Hikari Utsuri. So if your supplier has them in stock, I recommend you should get as many as possible as quickly as possible.

In addition to the selling part, having regular Utsuri varieties on the side may help you to explain Hikari Utsuri more easily. For example, if you want to sell Kin Showa, have Showa on the side so that customers can visualize that this is a metallic version of the koi. You can also explain how difficult and rare it is to breed such a nice Kin Showa because breeders have to add an extra feature (“sheen”) to the body of the Showa.

There are several breeders known for quality Hikari Utsuri. They are Miyaishi Koi Farm, Miyatora Koi Farm, Aoki Koi Farm, Iwashita Koi Farm and Marusaka Koi Farm.

*Note from Taro Kodama – Japanese Koi Breeders*

Taro recommends you read “KOISHI – Koi Breeders” to understand more about the breeders mentioned in this article and many more.

The book was written by Taro’s father Mr. Mamoru Kodama. Mr. Kodama spent over 20 years visiting Koi Breeders throughout Japan.

Order this paperback book with over 200 pages of information. It comes with a hard case cover for safekeeping. Start learning about these Koi Breeders and Koi Farms today.

KOISHI is available on Wholesale pricing is available, call 760/451-2255.

Japanese Koi Kodama

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