Ochibashigure are koi that have a brown pattern on a gray body. To be more precise, they have Chagoi (tea color) colored pattern on Soragoi (gray) body. As a member of Chagoi varieties, Ochibashigure, also known as Ochoa, is a popular variety for its big growth and friendly personality.
Ochoa in Ochibashigure means “fallen leaves.” Shigure in Ochibashigure means “drizzling rain in late autumn and early winter.” The look must have reminded breeders of the wet fallen leaves on the ground during a rain.
When it comes to appreciation of this variety, here are four important qualities:
1) Clear Separation of the Two Colors;
2) Kohaku Pattern;
3) Fukurin/Netting Pattern;
4) Body Conformation.
**1) Clear Separation of the Two Colors**
Ochibashigure is defined as gray koi with brown pattern. It is critical that solid brown patches are clearly separated from the gray color of the body. Pay attention to the kiwa (edges). Oftentimes, you find inconsistent coloration and fuzzy kiwa. In addition, it is also valued more if koi have stronger brown like chocolate or red-wine than yellower brown. Because of the demand, we have seen more and more red-wine Ochibashigure in Niigata, Japan. It is interesting to know that breeders crossed Kohaku (red and white koi) with Ochibashigure to enhance brown more.
**2) Kohaku Pattern**
It is ideal to have Kohaku pattern on the body. In the ratio of 4:6 to 5:5, if brown pattern is nicely placed on every part of the body: head, shoulder, body and tail, it will make the koi an excellent work of art. Unlike Kohaku, however, if quality of brown/gray is good, it is accepted to have no brown pattern on its head.
**3) Fukurin/Netting Pattern**
Fukurin/netting pattern is definitely a great value. Fukurin is a netting pattern formed by the gaps between scales. Ochibashigure will grow big. When koi grow bigger and bigger, the scales cannot keep up the growth and start showing the gaps between. Fukurin becomes a valuable addition to the koi. It is natural that there are no gaps when koi are small. You may see a crisp netting pattern.
**4) Body Conformation**
As the beauty of koi consist of body conformation, quality and pattern, body conformation definitely needs to be considered. However, the excellence of body conformation is difficult to judge when koi are small up to 12˝. Unless it is deformed you can consider it OK. As koi mature, body conformation will become the most important factor. We would like to see a big head, shoulder, tree-like trunk and thick tail joint. Therefore, please find out the bloodline. The bloodline impacts the future growth. So whether you are looking at small Ochibashigure or mid-sized Ochibashigure, you need to know the breeders. (You can find my recommendation later.)
For retailers, selling this variety is relatively easy in a way. Like her related varieties, Chagoi, Soragoi, Ochibashigure is one of the friendliest personalities in koi. She would probably be the first to come up and eat food and grow the biggest the quickest. She can be a very good leader of the school in a koi pond. So every pond needs at least one Ochibashigure. If your client does not have this variety in their pond, please recommend her for her personality instead of just her appearance.
Next appealing point would be the quality of her beauty. Check to see if the Ochibashigure at your local retail locations meet these conditions. Also, if you know the breeder of Ochibashigure, it is important to inform your clients. Hobbyists have become more and more educated lately and the bloodline (or breeders) has become an important factor in making their buying decision.
There are several breeders known for quality Ochibashigure. Igarashi Koi Farm. Otsuka Koi Farm. Fukasawa Koi Farm. If Ochibashigure in your stores are from one of those breeders, you can consider the bloodline good.