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Thread: Koi Eye color and base color relation

  1. #1
    Sansai Reza's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Tehran - Iran

    Koi Eye color and base color relation

    Is there any relation with eye color and body's base color specially in showa and sanke bekko and utsuri? also in some cases that identifying for example (modern) showa and sanke become very hard to determine it.

    for example: shiro bekko and shiro utsuri in first look are same in differences that utsuri has more sumi. in standard utsuri shud have sumi on head but, if it was a weak quality and instead of interconnected pattern has stepped pattern very looks likes bekko?

    sanke has no black on head but I found some sanke has a black spot on head and looks undeveloped sumi on head showa.

    I think there should be a method to help the determine it and finding body's base color will help to resolve it.

  2. #2
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Orlando, Florida
    The only reliable relationship between eye color and variety is when the eye is red. These albinistic fish tend to be Kigoi or Karashigoi. There can be red-eyed white carp, but I have only seen one or two in photos. People will talk about there being blue around the eye of a Sanke compared to a Kohaku. This is not always true, but it is often accurate that what seems to be a Kohaku with blue around the eye will turn out to be a Sanke. The blue tint apparently comes from underlying sumi, which as the fish matures seldom forms around the eye, but does come up on the body in typical Sanke fashion.

    We initially learn to distinguish Sanke/Showa, Bekko/Utsuri by such pattern aspects as sumi on the head. It is an easy thing for new koikeepers to learn. However, I believe it causes a misimpression that these pattern aspects alone are the distinguishing points. This is inaccurate. Some Bekko and Sanke do have sumi on the head. This is considered a negative in judging, particularly for Bekko. Such koi may even be culled for this reason alone if the sumi on the head is large. Even if not culled, they are more likely to be sold off in bulk at a small size. They are still Bekko or Sanke. The body form of Showa/Utsuri is quite different from Sanke/Bekko, being bulkier in the shoulder area, with the result that the back third of the body is proportionally more narrow compared to Sanke/Bekko. Head structure is also different as a consequence. In general, the Sanke/Bekko gives a longer, leaner look. I think of the traditional Sanke/Bekko as being more like a running back in American football, while the Showa/Utsuri is like a lineman. For those not familiar with American football, perhaps think of Sanke/Bekko as being horses, while Showa/Utsuri are like oxen. The beni differs also. It is not possible to describe how it differs, but in time one learns to recognize that the beni of Sanke can be of three or so general types and all of these types are different from Showa beni. These differences are the result of these varieties arising independently from different ancestry.

    It becomes more difficult to distinguish these varieties today because the varieties have been interbred in the quest for improvement. We now talk about the sumi of Showa/Utsuri as wrapping upward from the belly, while the sumi of Sanke/Bekko appears in patches and is oriented to the back (dorsal orientation) of the koi. This is more accurate than speaking in terms of whether it appears on the head. It is nonetheless an imperfect measure for the novice confronted with a Sanke/Bekko with very heavy sumi, or a Showa with no sumi below the lateral line. There is a more reliable difference in how the sumi of Sanke forms compared to the sumi of Showa. This is a difference that cannot be easily described, but you come to recognize it after exposure to many developing koi. There were some very high quality Showa nisai auctioned this past year at Dainichi and Momotaro that had no motoguro and very little sumi showing, with that sumi appearing only in patches above the lateral line. Anyone determining the variety according to sumi patterning would have to say they were Sanke, although any experienced koikeeper would see them as Showa based on the body form, type of beni and how the sumi was forming.

    It is getting more difficult to rely on body form at the highest end of Showa, because the very best Showa being produced today are more and more like Sanke in their body form. Momotaro's Lion Queen is an example of a Showa with a body form much more like a traditional Sanke than a traditional Showa. In the April issue of Nichirin there is a photo spread showing Lion Queen developing over the years from a youngster to grand champion. It is commented that in her earliest photo she looks like a Sanke.

    The mixing of the genetics has had an unfortunate consequence. The veining patterns of sumi, where it looks like black tree roots growing across a red and white koi, which were much loved and commonly seen decades ago, are now rare. Classic menware (crack across the face) and hachiware (crown head) are often not well-developed in today's Showa. These classic features will be suggested by broken lines of sumi, but rarely do we see them fully developed in the best examples of Showa today. That is an aspect of Lion Queen not frequently mentioned. The dramatic sumi development on her head stands out, giving her an eye-catching presence even when viewed in photos where her size impresses only after being told how big she is. What I find so outstanding about her is that she has the full presence of Showa, despite being so much like Sanke in form.

    I did not intend to drivel on so long. Guess I'm avoiding work!
    Last edited by MikeM; 06-11- at 09:57 AM.

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