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Thread: attempting to evaluate a tosai---

  1. #1
    Daihonmei
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    attempting to evaluate a tosai---


    If you go to Japan to well known established breeders they will first qualify you as a buyer. This means that they will try and get a sense of your level of sophistication and specifically, what you want the koi FOR.
    That might sound odd, but depending what you want a tosai koi for, will determine what he will show you.

    So what does want a tosai for??!
    * Well you might want the youngster for a pet or as decoration for your pond (in which case you don't need to be going to the expense of traveling to Japan for!)
    * You might also want the koi for ' the contest'.
    * Or you might want a fish for study and maybe for a future show

    Now these choices will bring you different fish to purchase. And although a fish for the contest today may also be a pet for life, it is not likely to be a good fish for study and future shows as a mature adult fish.
    Indeed, each fish has its moment in time. A peak is called a peak for a reason and koi, like most living things has a window of physical beauty and a moment when it is finished and as good as it will ever be. This is a very hard notion for the budding exhibitor and fish keeper to accept, but it is an ultimate truth in koi.

    IF you want a fish for today’s show, follow your heart! It will lead the beginner to a brightly colored, clear and well pattern fish! This is typically a make and as such it will mature and finish early-- giving you that picture perfect fish for today. This is a fine choice and the least expensive choice if the dealer or breeder is honest- otherwise they will use you impulse to own such a pretty specimen to empty your wallet. Koi buying can be an expensive lesson so just remember not to pay TOO dearly for a tosai male, no matter how pretty it is today.

    If, on the other hand you are not a keen competitor and collect of juvenile koi, then I have both good news and bad news--
    The prospect or tategoi is a more expensive fish. And ironically for all that yen it is still a poor competitor in most koi shows as a juvenile.

    Going back to the first example- the flashy pretty well patterned male, that fish is pretty because it has thin juvenile skin. That trait simply can't last as the skin will have to naturally mature with time. And that biological fact is exactly why the second example (the unfinished male and especially unfinished female) will BECOME more beautiful and compete better at an older age-- its skin and entrapped pattern will become more and more defined and hopefully even more beautiful. Making it similar in effect to the young male show fish but much larger and with more dimensions such as skin translucency and deep three dimensional color within that translucent canvas.
    So evaluate a tosai and nisei for its intended purpose. For the 'now' show fish, your eye will tell you. If it has a normal pleasing conformation, a clean bright coloring, bright white and an interesting pattern, you can hardly go wrong.
    For a future show fish, however, you will need to pay some dues as you learn what to look for and what to avoid-- this takes some education. As the fish will likely be only 20-30% finished therein lays the gamble. If it is a male the odds will be poorer than if it is a female. But not impossible. The size where males can still be expected to compete if not finished at age one-two will be in sizes 3-5. After that it is pretty much a girl's world.

    Try and look at koi contests as being three separate contests-
    1) The juvenile division
    2) The young premature adult division
    3) The mature adult division
    Each of these categories can be further broken down into two or three stages or age groups but can pretty much compete well with one another depending on true age and how they were raised. Hope this helps someone out there-- JR

  2. #2
    Oyagoi
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    just got my november issue of nichrin in mail yesterday and has little article of shiro in there
    has pictures of musashi at tosai and up.
    even with the 4 year old picture posted to go back and see tosai photos is like well i GUESS i can see where the sumi was hiding and such but still no way understand why it came up the way it did in pattern

    not alone take the gamble in tosai picture and dream it could do that pattern at 4 years old

  3. #3
    Oyagoi RayJordan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pskorf View Post
    just got my november issue of nichrin in mail yesterday and has little article of shiro in there
    has pictures of musashi at tosai and up.
    even with the 4 year old picture posted to go back and see tosai photos is like well i GUESS i can see where the sumi was hiding and such but still no way understand why it came up the way it did in pattern

    not alone take the gamble in tosai picture and dream it could do that pattern at 4 years old
    I really enjoy studying these types of photos. Remember we have the benefit of hindsight and the good luck that there were photos taken of these koi while they were developing from tosai on. I doubt that many of any of these top quality koi were individually identified as tosai as being future All Japan Show Grand Champions. Consider the number of top quality "tategoi" tosai that Omosako or any of the major koi breeders in Japan keeps to grow another season. Each of these tategoi are a chance to have a top quality koi. Let's just make a wild guess and pick a number.... say 250. At the end of the next growing season when they are nisai (2 yrs old) the majority of these will have fallen out of the top tategoi group. Let's say 90% fall out leaving 25 for the breeder to grow another year to become sansai (3 year olds) again the majority will fall out and perhaps only 5 will be worthy of growing another year or two with the hope that one or two will pay off in a major sale price and hopefully a major award at a show.

    So if two of the original 250 make it to the top level of quality the breeder was about 1% correct in his predictions. Shows how rare this top level of quality really is. Also why the price for them is so high.

    Successful breeders have the experience and the potential pool of genetically blessed candidates to give an edge with selecting the koi with the best future development potential. This allows him to keep and grow a number of "tategoi" on a on going basis. At the same time he is selling the koi that develop early or lack the combination of qualities he wants to keep. The koi sold as tosai or nisai hopefully pay the bill and perhaps even a small profit. The tategoi that he is able to keep and grow give a number of chances to produce some top quality koi and hit the occasionally jackpot sale.
    Disclosure:These opinions are based on my experience and conversations with persons I consider accomplished koi keepers and do not reflect the viewpoint of any organization.

  4. #4
    Daihonmei
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    But that is a study of how lines develop and not necessiary how KOI develop.
    Some kohaku, for instance will fill in color from the scale base and one can project what the finished product will be ( or not be). Other lines of teh very same variety ( kohaku) will NOT develop color from the scale base but rather uniformly increase chromatphore count over the plate.

    I'm always humbled myself by the humble comment from Japanese breeders who freely admit that they are so involved in their breedings that they don't fully understand other breeders stock other than the universal truths that all koi demonstrate.

    I noticed that a few years back all budding edvanced keepers were looking for hosi on their tosai. This is a case where line traits become THE trait of all tategoi-- which simply isn't true.
    This is why the budding expert should go to different breeders as if they were attending different educational subjects. When at Dainichi, talk all he says as gospel FOR Dainichi lines. When at Sakai's turn your note book page to a new page and take everythiung he says as ultiimate true facts regarding HIS line. But the personal growth of one's own eye requires the digestion of those notes into a catalogue of understanding regarding the variations in development even of the same variety. IMHO. JR

  5. #5
    Nisai
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    PLEASE KEEP POSTING!!!!!!!
    this is right up my alley of what i need to learn, thanks for this thread.
    i will be watching this closely
    ben

  6. #6
    Nisai APOLONASGR36's Avatar
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    I love that JR started posting again. I am absorbing every bit of info with great interest.

    Happy and Healthy New Year everyone.

  7. #7
    Honmei Brutuscz's Avatar
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    JR, I knew this topic was going to come up again. I made it my goal years ago to prove you wrong. To have a koi win at all size classes...prove it was possible. That the cut flower analogy was not always correct and could be overcome with excellent koi husbandry. I also thought my shiro utsuri from marusho was going to beat the odds and accomplish this. It has won in size 1, 2 and 3. Now it is in size 4...and things have changed. The sumi is still perfect...dark as broken coal. But, the shiro...yellowish. Even more so in cooler temperatures. So, I think it's competitive road has come to an end. I even tried foods to enhance shiro. Some improvement, but not enough to show. I will still keep trying...see if something else works. But...they are cut flowers, and that peak can only last for so long. On the other hand, my Omosako female has grown dramatically, and is the same size as the other shiro, maybe bigger. Quality looks great...just need the sumi to return. Just waiting and waiting!!!

    I included a series of development picture over several years. You can even see the difference is skin tone relative to temperature. But, I think it is over the hill now. Oh well....she was a good girl and I remain proud of the 3in. hatchling I picked back in May of 2006.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails attempting to evaluate a tosai----shirodev11.jpg  


    If your desire to succeed is greater than your desire to fail, then you will succeed.

  8. #8
    Daihonmei
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    hey B, I understand you want to believe what you do. It is a common dream for sure. Just as every hobbyist, at some point, wants to believe that they will find a future grand champion in a vat if $9.00 tosai.

    Strange things happen in this world and the exception to the rule is a real thing.
    I can tell you stories of those unique moments in time regarding winners rising from the ranks of cast offs, runts and lucky buys.

    So it's not that I'm a non believer of a spoiler of dreams! But I'm unfortunately too experienced in the school of hard knocks to be naive.
    Tosai sold by the Japanese are tateshita or cast offs for a reason. if there is doubt, they are kept another year.

    B, I can tell you that you have a beginners eye. Not insult intended! But I can see your blind spot. In fact, your own dream keeps you from progressing.

    If you will to continue to hold the dream then I'd suggest you stay with certain breeds that have a shot at winning year after year.
    One example of this would be a fish with a notable pattern such as a heart on the side, or a very unique head pattern. often inexperienced judges who are also going through their learning stage, will be drawn to the unique. many American judges for instance, will always honor a brightly colored ginrin witha very white head. Or a kawarimono with bright colors.
    they will also be forced to pick a reasonable example of a rarely shown variety as first place or most unique as there is simply no competition.

    So varieties like shiro Bekko or ginrin matsukawabake will always show well and maybe take the award for years until they completely fall apart. I've seen this alot by the way and the year when the fish doesn't win the own usually assumes it is the judges and not the fish moving 'past sell date'.
    These are the koi facts of life my friend. Every koi has a moment, a peak in color intensity, body development that fits it's pattern, and superior presence compared to the competition of the day. And every koi has elements that make it more competitive as a juvenile, a young adult and a mature adult example of what a great koi is. This does not mean that there can't be an overlap! But not a run of the tables! It just doesn't happen unless you have a high class koi in a small non competitive show every year. there is always a reason a fish wins- sometimes it is due to the fish, other times the level of competition and still other times the preference of judges. Lots goes into the assumption of the best fish. But now I ramble---! JR

  9. #9
    Honmei Brutuscz's Avatar
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    LOL...no beginners eye anymore. They have improved their vision quite a bit since my last show. I am hoping to back that up this coming year. I concentrate mostly on gosanke and shiro utsuri now. I don't post pics of them much any more either. I show some offbeat varieties here because I have had them for many years...so, I like watching development and updating pics. I still have my doitsu gin shiro bekko..LOL!!! But, Gosanke are where I concentrate now. An entirely different world.
    I still do enjoy competing in the smaller sizes as well. I always enjoyed getting a baby grand or best in size 1 award. That is usually a well represented size class, so it is fun to be involved. But again, much of the education has sunk in and my vision is much clearer.

    On the other hand... Giants RUUULE!!!!!! Look at Cruz...coming out of the $9 vat...LOL!! That is quite a nisei the Giants have there

  10. #10
    Daihonmei
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    you're right! They picked him up off the streets of Paterson NJ! out of football and chill'n. Have tickets for the Game next week and can't wait. I gave last nights away to my brother in law. Now I wish I had gone.

    And yes, I still remember the endless parade of kawari and kujaku you were stuck on for so long! So now you know WHY kujaku is an exercise in heart break! They tarnish, the loose luster and they grow chubby! LOls. The kujaku is greatly improved these days with the addition of kohaku. But still, the genes are the genes and kujaku is a fish for today. The best that variety can do is HOLD a look for as long as possible. Don't get me wrong, a good one is a thing of great beauty ( especially the reds with delicate black netting). But in the long term they are heart aches.

    JR

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