How is it like to buy Koi in Japan for your fish pond?
Hidden away in the mountains of a Japanese prefecture lies a small village called Yamakoshi When the autumn makes his entry.. Hundreds of people from all over the world travel to Japan to find that one specific potential champion Each of those treasure hunters are hoping to buy that one extraordinary Unique and one-of-a-kind, swimming juwels.. But finding and buying that one specific koi Isn’t quite easy. As a matter of fact, it’s one of the hardest of most excited things that belong to our hobby Sometimes it takes years before you see the difference in quality well, where should you pay attention to as a hobbyist.. And what is it like to buy a potential champion? I recently returned from my fifth Koi trip to Japan and this year I’ve learned more than ever before. In this movie I take you with me on a journey to the Land of the Rising Sun Japan.. But first we need to get to Japan Doing business in Japan is different than in the rest of the world Flying to Japan with a big bag of money and buying the best koi is not how to japanese breeders do business In fact, they attach a lot of value to a strong and long relationship One of the advantages associated with a good relationship is the hospitality of the breeders We start a first day at the Yagenji koi farm Located high in Yamakoshi Mountains where we are invited to join a two-year-old koi harvest Each breeder has his own mud ponds in the mountains Some larger breeders have more than hundreds of those ponds a mud pond is a natural pond full of minerals and natural nutrients for the koi By allowing the fish to swim in a mud pond during this summer. They grow big by natural way Well, the breeder is watching Dominique from Koi Zanmai has a privilege to help with this harvest One by one the breeder is bringing in their two-year-old Koi It’s quite dangerous because the edges of the mud pondare really slippery Yagenji counts the koi one by one to ensure that no fish was left behind From Yagenji to Torazo a quick ride through the mountains to get on time for the next harvest Torazzo is known for his very high quality, Kohaku His koi farm has been around for more than hundred years and he and his family has already won several big prizes Back at the greenhouse Torazo and his daughter Yuki Kawakami checks the quality and the length of the fish. This Kohaku is about 93 cm big No, I used here for breeding this spring.. The breeders moves the fish with the greatest possible care Winning the first prize on a Koi show is something special, owning that fish is even more special.. the best fish of the show gets the title Grand Champion a great honor for both the breeder and the owner.. Before we continue our journey.. I need to introduce you to my friends Part of this trip are John from the United States Johan and Dominic from Belgian All our professional hobbyists and especially John is looking for potential champion during this trip if you don’t know Johan and Dominic yet, please take a look at their Facebook page Koi Zanmai A champion koi excels in all parts not only in the body shape or size but also the skin quality Judging the skin quality is probably the hardest thing to judge on a koi Skinny quality is assessed on for example the depth of colors, balance, pattern and condition of the skin About 30 years ago his family developed the Matsunoske Sanke by breeding with among others the Magoi bloodline What makes this bloodline so special is the size of the koi but especially the breathtaking skin quality The first thing you notice about this bloodline is the thickness and volume of the Sumi As if a jar of black ink has fallen over and ended up on the fish by accident This bloodline is also known for showing her true face only at a later age At a younger age it is slightly softer in color and the sumi (black) is often not easily visible But after a few years you can see the real quality of the koi Carefully the breeder lifts the fish into the tank on the truck one more check to see is it air filled and after that everyone is ready to leave to the greenhouse.. Breeder doesn’t final check before he puts the koi into the greenhouses Back at Torazo John and I decide before we drive back to the hotel to see some more Koi John has quickly seen two Kohaku’s that he would like to see closer Both Kohaku’s are of very high-quality John tries to get as much information as possible from the breeder before he makes a decision.. I wish it was a little bit, you know bigger, but that’s very important. This is very important So if people see this do you think yes something you say? Okay, the beni (red) will open there? Things don’t open up. They’re gonna be the same, now as the fish grow.. it would appear a little bit better or it could even grow any.. I don’t think it’s gonna grow in He is already touching. Maybe he can actually You can actually do a little thing there. Yeah, but you have Sashi.. In front that is reaching in to this. So the Sashi is not too strong. This Sashi is stretched on here.. Skin quality of all those koi well, there’s your top top the great top the rest of the best So now you have a very balanced smaller koi yeah, right, but still he’s going to be big. Yeah, because but very balanced with Sashi no problem? Sashi? Yeah, no problem. Yeah, we make white stronger future. Yeah Their future this Sashi is the very sharp have little be sharp. Yeah. Yeah So no problem? Future no problem. It will be little bit more sharp.. Can you explain Sashi for the viewers? Sashi is the red scale covered with a white scale, yeah, so when every scale where it starts.. Where it stops it has the red right and then on the top it’s the white Yeah So if the red goes too deep maybe and bury the top of there on the white it’s the Sashi So you want one scale deep? Maybe one and a half. You don’t want to have it two- or three scales deep.. Potential come up and interfere with the sharpness, you know, and you want it to be even everywhere I like them both… They are nice, well the other one not seen but the pattern is very beautiful Proportion equal maybe not a big Koi, but still very even Maybe small-sized row Okay John decides to purchase both Koi What a great start of the day, the Ichiban or better called the number one harvest with Torazo The fish stays in the mud pond from may to October, during the warm summer months the fish grow the fastest in the mud pond. This summer, it was so hot and dry that some of the breeders had to empty there mud ponds already in September John is looking for specific Kohaku and calls in the breeders help If it turns out that after seeing the fish is not what is looking for we decide to go further to our next destination Our next stop is Choguro Koi Farm. We received a tip that some very high-quality Matsukawabake would swim around here Choguro is known for its platinum Ogon or also called Purachina The Matsukawabake is the scaly variant of the Kumonryu. Kumonryu are known as real magic balls, and are often called dragon fish Almost shiny like a diamond… Balanced very well.. Changes in sumi occur through the growth and aging of the fish, but also changes in water temperature and conditions. John also asked for the other matsukawabake so he can compare which of the 2 is good enough to buy Matsukawabake; but it is a GinRin Matsukawabake. Matsukawabake is a doitsu version of the Komonryu. So what you have is a whitefish with With the skin yeah black coming and changing it comes up and comes down It can have actually different patterns. So it’s like… ever-changing white skin Difficult to breed because that could be a very good fish and it could be all white. Yeah and all of a sudden you got a fish with all black.. These changes all the time as a matter of fact, she already got gray in the bowl.. Yeah, she was much brighter and it got already grey. So Matsukawabake change instantly So please, okay this one back. Put her back.. Yeah, okay John buys one of the two Matsukawabake and decide to look at another fish.. I have very hard water, right? What I’m predicting is over here is grey, right and.. on the eyes.. all Matsuba’s always have black in there eyes a little bit, right so under the eyes and here I’m expecting to be darker right now looks olive, like grey olives on there, which is very destructive the two sides have very destructive, you know not struck this disturbing, you know… But I think… That in my water will get realy dark black as well as the Matsuba part is gonna get darker. See right now.. It’s gray. I believe is gonna get darker black.. So when this is black.. Four years old, 67 cm good-sized. I predicted this gonna get darker.. ..and that the reason of everything is pure metallic the shine the metallic or a very very white Skin, and the metallic is really really shiny. So that will make a great contrast with darker scales This is gonna unfortunately get dark but I expecting this and that to get also darker and when he gets is that gonna be addressing? Look, she just cleaned her gills… That was inside Today is a special day. The number one harvest of Marudo koi farm an occasion where you only can be invited Thanks to my friends. Johan, Dominique and John I can be present as the special harvest Only the very best fish of the breeder swims in this pond Pay attention because in this pond also swims Grand Champion of the koi show later that week The Marudo Koi farm is a large farm with six full-time three part-time employees.. With five different establishments in Niigata, Marudo is one of the larger Koi Breeders in Japan.. It is a great experience to be here and I enjoy every single moment of it One Koi is even bigger than the other one, but overall they’re from very high quality The breeder makes a final count to ensure that all the fish have come out of the mud pond.. Back at the greenhouse the fish are quickly unloaded for measuring and the Associated inspections An event like this attracts a lot of people When we returned at the greenhouse, there were about 20 people waiting to see the new fish This Showa is one of my favorite Koi, the quality of the skin is excellent and the shape of the body is great.. We are Marudo’s second Koi house, we’re gonna see some three year old Kohaku.. This was actually very interesting it’s missing the spot, but I don’t care about that or the absence of the odome.. But I think this is a little bit more It doesn’t drive the same strong strong strong body, but there doesn’t carry the strength in the back To me this is till three quaters of the Koi very impressive. I Think she has a weak tail… But especially once she swimms, even upon when she was chasing her, this breaks too much here eventually that’s gonna develop strong and not gonna I like big Koi. That’s was the reason I think she has the potential to be very big She is a little nervous… beautiful beni (red).. Back; the back part of the body was a little stronger because If it was the same side, but the front was a little smaller then he would match right now There’s strong strong in the front and weaker in the back So, I don’t know She has a nice flow of the body… Judge select one special prize from adult fish and one price from young fish… The fish becomes a champion of his class.. After a number of voting rounds the grand champion has been announced. The Sanke of NND has emerged as the big winner. Buying or breeding the potential champion start with the selection of good parent animals We are at the Yagenji koi farm to select a number male koi.. When selecting the two-year-old male koi fish We focus on the quality of the skin the depth of the colors instead of the size and the pattern of the koi Together with the breeder John is selecting two bowls with male Koi.. Okay, okay This is good GinRin, Metallic, Doitsu and Kujaku.. This is for a friends that is a backyard breeder and it’s all my guess This one is female.. Male Good male. So when you’re selecting GinRin Showa.. What is the first thing to look at? GinRin! GinRin and the shiroji (white).. this one The GinRin is okay. That’s good.. But the beni (red) is amazing… So and the sumi (black) is really good too. unfortunately The GinRin is okay.. But the color is so bright in this one. So size and body shape doesn’t always necessarily means that.. you’re gonna get a good Koi.. Nice female GinRin very good… Beni is not the number 1 this is number one male.. So maybe you can explain the viewers how you select those Koi? Backyard breeding Right, so they wanted male Koi fish mostly How do you sex them? They are females and male except this one a male. And how do you do it? The way he’s running water through here, right, so if it’s smooth running I think that’s female but also the anus, yeah, if it’s soft en protruding its female if it’s hard and in goes in flat, thats a male. and then also, right now is not the right season but in a spring you will have like a.. ..brush here and this and that, so like for example this one I thought he was gonna be.. I love the body shape and also look at the the quality of the of the sumi (black) right? But whatever its up is there then it’s got plenty of black here. It’s got the the black here if Monteguru is starting Yeah, it’s not the greatest here, but it’s starting and both sides equal starting, and you see the shadow here. When you have Monteguru, if it was a little stronger you guarantee that this cannot walk here and here up. Than you got a.. ..nice line here that goes on the other side So you have a nice pattern here. You’re gonna be a little empty here and that’s a chance Because we need a little bit more so you got underlined here and here, but if the Monteguru comes with a little luck Then we’ll you will have something here. It doesn’t have to go all the way up But here you see black and it’s I don’t know if you can see the camera You can see a little bit underneath the scale also look at the mouth The problem is when you look at the mouth and it’s clean inside. It’s not so good for the sumi on the head.. See the breeding is all the GinRin, you have to have strong GinRin. So this is the gift for this one is the beni. So this one has the wildcard So I think this male they will pass good genes into the new generation Koi.. this is very good to Male to… strong strong and I want you to see that the Sumi is shining here right But it’s also shining on the white because if you were shining here and darker here and nothing here It wouldn’t that means it wouldn’t be so This one has totally female body and it’s most likely It’s female, sorry, it’s female.. Okay, so we have a mixture of female and male so for them to grow.. Being a tourist now looking at a different fish, I mean here’s some unique fishing here, so I’m looking out I’m looking to work in in one specific Specific fish that I like here. Tell me your tactics. Well wear him down. Yeah because we we go back, you know, so He starts over here and then I go down there and then he goes that you know, one second because we’re doing the line Oh Or both, male and female.. Okay We stopped at the Maruhiro Koi farm for some quick chats with the breeder Where we are there hundreds of new koi are coming back from the mud pond to the greenhouse We don’t have a lot of time because we have an appointment next at Torazo koi farm We are at the Torazo koi farm to select a number of male koi fish The breeder checks the sex on ce more and John is already looking for a potential fish to buy.. What is called koshi.. Right the right is in the middle Rather and then later around Out of the water, yeah Again the Kiwa is very important and also the body shape.. This is different beni as the Koshi. Then the beni is more red in the center and then more lighter it’s because The fish grew but the true beni is the center. remember that we had the yellow around? so the both high-class skin now there the white is a bit yellow because they are just back from the mud pond and the other thing is the sleeping stuff.. And that’s the reason that’s a little bit off the white now, it’s a pretty good fish! Each one has a strong body shape Don’t you see that bone structure you see that protruding up? Yeah. I mean it’s gonna put even more volume later on It’s gonna grow and it’s gonna carry their weight same thing here.. Bless you! Same thing here. Like a little like a mini U, and it carries it all the way up. That is it all the way back here. That is it That means that the fish still have gone larger and is gonna the bone structure has a bone structure for the height But when you have height then you can carry a larger volume We are invited to the annual auction event of the NND Koi Farm. A few days ago they won the highest prize at the Nagaoka Koi Show with a beautiful Sanke. One of the fish that will be sold is the sister of this grand champion that you saw earlier in this movie. While one of the breeders is making the final preparations, the dealers enter the event one by one. During the event, the dealers can buy various loose fish and even whole bowls full of Koi. The NND Koi Farm is known for its high quality Sanke and Shiro Utsuri. Thank you very much again for participating hope you a really good event together with us. And you find your fish and write your name and the fish number down.. And put in the slip and if there’s more than two people or three people The breeder explains once more what the rules are for this auction. In the meantime, John is busy selecting the fish he might want to buy. Take your pick, from poule B please. Let me see your hands You have many choices but Number two gets the first pick.. Understand. Yes Don’t you said number 2? Two in the box. How many in the box? 2? Skinny, but we’ll see. Yeah very good No, actually I picked up the AI Gromo. Thank you very much I made a boo-boo again. Bought another fish.. Beni is not good. It is excellent. Want you to see that quality because the waters dirty. And the bone structure is pretty strong, you know, right here is the bone structure on it. Yeah, you see it on the top I think he’s gonna pick it up for us so you can see it closely Really and totally two years old, by the way Nice arch in the body. Yeah, so strong. So, two years old exactly 18 months old Very good pattern for future when he fills up its gonna Rapping his dissent in the first and the second step. I think is gonna be a very good fish It wasn’t a cheap fish, but it’s a good fish What what helps me to hope for that? it’s the thickness of the beni the thicker the beni that more is gonna not allow the Black from the surface up so much right. Congratulations. Thank you It’s one of my last days in Japan Today we are to harvest from a breeder who has his mud ponds in Niigata prefecture But his Koi farm located in Tokyo The fish that swim here are 2 years old and have the predicate “Tategoi”. It means “unfinished future koi,” most of the breeders don’t sell there tategoi at this stage. A good friend of the breeder Conjiro is Torazo and likes to judge the fish with his own eyes. Even the breeder himself is very positive about the results this year After everything is cleaned up, the breeder is ready for his long journey back to Tokyo. I have one more stop before I finish my journey to Japan Every Friday the local Koi action take place. A busy event where it’s always fun to look around Local breeders and hobbyists can auction their fish here. Dealers who do not live in Japan cannot participate in this auction The fish are brought in and checked throughout the morning before they go floating auction house My trip for this year ends here. Buying a potential champion is a journey that starts at an early stage. Selecting a potential champion is a true art that is not reserved for many people. I I hope that this film gives a bit more insight into the selection process of a good fish. We will see how the fish will develop next year I have one more small surprise There will be another film shortly published after this movie and it contains a movie about the Koi Breeders in the south of Japan Thanks for watching please subscribe and share and like this video so I can make more videos like this in the future Thank you or as the Japanese people say arigato gozaimasu Special thanks to the breeders Johan and Dominic from Koi Zanmai and John from the United States