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PostSubject: Kobaku all about it.   Kobaku all about it. Icon_minitimeMon Apr 18, 2011 7:01 pm


Kohaku, a member of the Gosanke family, are koi with a solid white (shiro) body, and red (hi) patterns over top of the white. Kohaku are believed to be the first koi variety ever developed. Red fish first began to appear in Japan between 1804 and 1829, when a black carp with red cheeks was found. The white offspring of this black carp were bred with a Higoi (solid red fish), and the resulting offspring had red stomachs. Around 1829, a koi with red gill plates had been produced, and many more Kohaku-like varieties appeared over the next few decades.

Around 1888, a man named Kunizo Hiroi bred a red-headed female carp with a cherry-blossom-patterned male, and the resulting offspring became known as the Gosuke bloodline. The Gosuke bloodline is extinct today, but it is believed that all known bloodlines of Kohaku can be traced back to the Gosuke bloodline.

The Kohaku is a white Koi on which hi (red spots) appears in varying patterns. Each of these patterns have been given its own name. The markings of the Kohaku should bright and even all over the body. The markings on the body should not spread down past the lateral line and There should be no Hi (red) in the fin`s or tail.
Some Kohaku exhibit a trait known as "dangara", a pattern of well-separated markings along the body that resemble stepping stones in a pool. Each of these patterns are has been given its own name.

What To Look For

-The solid white (shiro) of the Kohaku body should be unblemished, with a snowy or milky white color. A yellowish tint to the shiro is undesirable. The white should be the color of fresh snow and free from blemishes. A poor white, which can be dirty yellow in appearance, will spoil an otherwise good Kohaku because the hi pattern will not stand out.
-The unity and balance of color and pattern on a Kohaku are of the utmost importance. As a general guideline, the hi should cover between 50 and 70 percent of the koi.
Patterns Because Kohaku appears as such a simple koi in terms of coloration, the criteria by which they are judged is severe. The pattern is the last thing to consider when the koi is being judged but is probably the most discussed. Balance over the whole of the koi's body is the key to any pattern.Balance of pattern over the body of the koi is most important. A Kohaku that has most of its hi pattern at the front of its body lacks balance and elegance. This means that they must not be confined to one side or one end of the koi only. An equal distribution of shiro and hi is preferred, so in general a koi heavily marked with red or predominantly white in color is not desired.
-The red (hi) should be brightly colored, with the same hue and shade across the entire body. beni (red),
-The hi pattern should be balanced and evenly distributed across the body of the koi, but not necessarily symmetrical.
the hi markings should not appear on the tail or fins.
-The edges of the hi pattern (where the red meets the white) should be very clear and well-defined, with no shiro appearing in the middle of the hi patterns.This definition between white and hi markings is known as "kiwa".
there must be markings on the head.
-The markings on the head should not spread past the nostrils
-The Hi on head of the Kohaku should not spread over the eyes
-The markings on the body should not spread down past the lateral line
-Head On any Kohaku the hi pattern begins on the head. The traditional head pattern for the hi is a large U shape, which should reach down as far as the eyes. If the hi does not reach the eyes, the pattern can be balanced by "kuchibeni" or lipstick like markings. A hi marking that reaches the mouth is know as "hanatsuki" and a pattern that spreads over the face is called "menkaburi". Recently, koi keepers have begun to appreciate Kohaku with interesting or irregular shaped marking on the head.
-Body Large hi markings are preferred to small hi markings.
-A break in the pattern is preferred between the back of the head and the shoulder.
-Variation is also important. Koi grow from the abdomen, so when selecting a young Kohaku, look for a large pattern of hi.
-Tail The end of the pattern is as important as the beginning. On a perfectly marked Kohaku, the hi pattern ends just before the tail joint.
-Fins Snow white fins are the perfect accompaniment to the red on white pattern of a large koi. As a general rule, hi extending into the fins is considered detrimental to the koi's markings. Hi in the pelvic fins is not a problem because it cannot be seen when the koi is judged.
-Scalation Scalation should be even all over the body of the koi. The Japanese prefer hi that is strong enough to disguise the individual scales. Scales that are visible because the hi is thin are known as "kokesuki". A Kohaku of any pattern with scales only along the dorsal and lateral lines is known as a Doitsu Kohaku.
-As with any other koi, the most important point to consider in selecting a Kohaku is the body confirmation. We are often tempted to overlook poor body confirmation when we are enchanted by a koi that has a stunning pattern, but to acquire such a koi invariably turns out to be a mistake as poor body confirmation is usually a result of more serious internal problems that will eventually result in health problems.

Basic appreciation points
• A Kohaku should have snowy white, glowing skin from nose to tail, over which a few large, evenly coloured red patterns are attractively placed, without running into the eyes or fins, or covering the gill plates.
• White on the nose and before the tail fin are desirable features of Kohaku, as are white breaks between the red patterns, allowing appreciation of sharply defined trailing edges (kiwa – facing the tail). At the leading edge, white overlaps red, so a little blurring (sashi) is acceptable.
• The desirable shade of red has changed over the years – originally dark and purple-based, today a lighter, orange-based shade of red is considered more elegant.

Common problems
- Yellowing of the white skin, especially on the heads and fins of male Koi.
-Development of uneven red colour. Breaking up and scattering of red patterns with final loss of much or all of the red.
-Secondary red or ‘Asagi Hi’ speckles along the sides, below the lateral line.
-Development of small (scale-sized or less) black marks called shimis.
- Pattern problems – an entirely red head; a pattern too heavy on one side or towards the tail; an uninteresting pattern over the back without white breaks; a pattern with too many small, scattered red elements; or a pattern too small for a big Koi.
-There are fundamental points to look for in a kohaku. Pattern for the head, body, the tail, and the fins. A red marking is indispensable for the head, even if it has beautiful patterns on the body, a koi without a head Hi will be amoung the first culled.
-Red spots below the lateral line are not desired,

The ideal shape of the head Hi is a large U spreading over the head, a head Hi which spreads all over the head is not preferable. The mouth region should be white, the Hi which spreads down to the lips, and not covering the cheeks and jaws is also disliked.
The ideal end line of the head Hi is the nose line, and at least down to the eyes. A head Hi that is neither too large nor too small is preferable. The head Hi should not spread down to the mouth tip, if it is split in some place, no mouth Hi is acceptable. The head Hi must not cover the eyes, jaws, and cheeks, but must be as large as possible.
The back should have a pattern well-balanced on both sides. A large mark on the shoulders near the head makes a Kohaku look imposing. A V shaped white cut on the shoulders is desirable. A continuous pattern from the head to shoulders without any cuts looks dull.
The distance between the last Hi and the tail joint should be about 2cm. As the fish grows larger, this distance increases, the last Hi spreading over the tail is disliked, no fins should have Hi.

There appear to be two types of coloration. The purplish red hi is dark and does not fade easily. This color is considered to lack elegance and tends to splatter over the koi. Brownish red hi can produce a very fine, almost translucent, color but tends to fade easily.
The beni in very young koi starts out as a pale yellow that develops into a faint orange, then a deep orange, and then finally, a beautiful red. Males tend to develop their red as early as their first or second year, however they their color tends to peak and diminish not long thereafter. Though females take longer to develop their red, they are likely to have a truly lustrous red that will last for years, making them more popular among the serious hobbyists.

Kohaku come in literally thousands of patterns with no two koi the same but some of the more recognized patterns are as follow:
Individual Kohaku names are pattern-based
Variations of Kohaku

Nidan This Koi has a two-step(step=spot) Hi pattern.
Sandan This Koi has a three-step Hi pattern.
Yondan This Koi has a four-step Hi pattern.
godan This Koi has a five-step Hi pattern.
Inazuma This Koi has a zig-zag Hi pattern down the length of the body.This is a continuous pattern, extending from the head to the tail, but with a zig zag look. Inazuma literally means lightning.
Kuchibeni The Koi has Hi (red) on the lips . like lipstick
oh moyo Straight Hi This Koi has a large unbroken pattern from the head to the tail
Menkaburi A Hood that covers the whole head often extending from the gills to the mouth.
Tancho A round patch of red on the head is considered nice. If this red patch is the only marking on a white koi, then the koi is called a 'tancho kohaku', a highly-prized koi variety among the Japanese since it looks like their national bird. If there are other markings on the body of the koi, then the round head patch makes it a 'maruten' kohaku.
Shiromuji Plain white koi.
Akamuji Plain red or Higoi Koi.
Akahjiro Red Koi with white or predominately white fins.
Hanatsuki The Hi of this Koi extends down to the lips but isn't found on the jaws or the cheeks.
Doitsu Doitsu Kohaku are a scaleless version of Kohaku. Some Doitsu Kohaku are not truly scaleless, but rather have a single line of scales running down the top of the body, in line with the dorsal fin.
Maruten Kohaku means the head pattern is separate from the body pattern.
Goten-zakura: This koi has a cherry-blossom pattern. The hi is dappled and looks like clusters of grapes.
Kanoko: This fish actually is classified in the Kawarimono class and not Kohaku in shows. The head hi is solid but the body hi is dappled.
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