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Thread: Higoi vs Benigoi

  1. #1
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    Higoi vs Benigoi

    I have commented several times that 'Benigoi' has become a marketing label used by dealers connoting a higher quality than 'Higoi', without regard to the quality of pigment possessed by the koi. Perhaps I have been wrong. In discussing the Mujimono judging class created a year or so ago, a ZNA article says that Higoi likely originated from the Tetsu Magoi, possessing an uneven darkish orange-red color. It might be better considered an Irogoi... a colored carp, rather than Nishikigoi. It was much later that Kohaku were developed, and Benigoi originated from Kohaku... in every spawning.

    If this distinction is worthwhile, the dealers marketing every solid reddish koi as Benigoi are correct in their labeling 99+% of the time. Virtually all Higoi/Benigoi we see are from Kohaku spawnings. I am not convinced the distinction is worthwhile, however, since many old Rinko (in English) articles referred to the solid red offspring of Kohaku as Higoi long before the term 'Benigoi' was in common use. If they thought the fish were Higoi 30+ years ago, when koikeepers were closer in time to the development of varieties, I am traditional enough to stick with Higoi for any solid red koi of undistinguished pigment. I will reserve use of Benigoi to the few with higher quality Beni.

    .... BTW, the best Benigoi likely will have white bellies. These koi are Benigoi if the judges cannot see the white. They are lousy Kohaku if they can. This is one of those matters that has nothing to do with quality, but everything to do with the role of the judge in preserving standards for the recognized varieties.

  2. #2
    Oyagoi yerrag's Avatar
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    With that, I am happy to announce that I have in my possession a benigoi tosai spawned from my SFF sanke.

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    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    Who could say you do not?

  4. #4
    Oyagoi yerrag's Avatar
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    I'll keep it and let it grow to nisai, Mike. I don't know how to tell if it's a garden variety benigoi or a benigoi for your taste. I can only go to pet shops and by memory compare the pet shop benigoi's hue and color saturation to my benigoi's. With muy biased mind playing tricks on me, it appears to me my benigoi is deeper red. As it grows, I'll be able to tell more of its quality. Should its beni, as thoroughly and fully wrapped around its body, develop as if it's a kohaku's beni plates? If the beni develops much like that of a hi utsuri, would I conclude that it is certainly no benigoi worthy of show?

  5. #5
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    That is where the real pleasure of Nishikigoi is found. Watching their development and working on husbandry to move toward a goal is the joy of koi. It's all in the journey, not the destination.
    yerrag likes this.

  6. #6
    Oyagoi yerrag's Avatar
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    Mike, here is a video of my 'benigoi.' Would appreciate your thoughts on its quality. It has a white edge on its pecs, but I'm not too sure about its confirmation. Not sure whether it needs to find a new home or can stay. It's an offspring of a 3yr SFF Sanke. Male Oyagoi either an SFF Sanke or a Goshiki. Or perhaps a chagoi or a shusui. A pond spawn.
    https://youtu.be/HjV2nEdep1o

  7. #7
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    Watching the video, I do not see any white showing. However, the shadowing makes it difficult to focus on the flanks below the lateral line. In person you can tell whether there is some weakness in the pigment, or just high reflectivity making it appear in the video that there are individual solid color scales surrounded by a lighter shade. The pigment on the top side of the fish appears nicely even over the entire body. This is good. You can get a debate about how much white is allowable in the pectorals. Solid color is preferable from a judging perspective. Personally, I like the pectorals to be white with bold motoaka, but some will say that as much white as that is a significant negative... and some can go so far as to say that much white results in the fish not really being a Higoi/Benigoi. The bit of white on the edges of your koi's pectorals would be acceptable for judging purposes, just not optimal.

    In the Mujimono judging class, it is really all about even pigment and body. There are three areas where this koi is less than ideal. First, the head shape. This is not the strong, long head that gives a koi elegance. It is a bit short, somewhat rounded and may have a bit of a dip from the eyes to the tip of the snout. Second, the pectorals do not have a clean, straight leading edge, and the trailing edges are a bit 'loose'. I am wondering if there is a dose of longfin genetics in her. Third, the body is broadest in the mid-area, giving a disproportional effect to the tail tube. She does not have a thin tail tube so much as having the appearance of it being thin in comparison to the midsection of the body. So, rather than a sleek silhouette that tapers from shoulder to tail, she becomes rather plump in the middle. I expect that in the pond she does not glide through the water seemingly without effort. I expect she waddles a little, sort of like a happy puppy wagging its tail, when she swims to get food that's been tossed a distance from her. That happy puppy look can be endearing and make us smile, but it is a consequence of body form.

    So, altogether, if your goal is showing, I would re-home her. If your goal is a happy pond and you have the space, keep her another year. My guess is that her pigment will hold up, and it is the sort of Aka red that will make her stand out among the reds of gosanke.

    ....On the other hand, if you already have a Yamabuki and a Chagoi, having another mujimono may dull the overall impression of the pond. I think every koi collection is made more beautiful by having some solid color koi for contrast, but whole ponds of single colored fish become dull. For me, somewhere around 10% of the collection is ideal, and 20% is sort of the dividing line between a cheerful collection and a dull one. But, that's my sense of things. I'm sure others perceive it differently.
    Last edited by MikeM; 07-09-2016 at 11:52 AM. Reason: typo

  8. #8
    Oyagoi yerrag's Avatar
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    I appreciate the very thorough critique Mike. Such details escape me. Where there are no patterns involved to distract, it still remains difficult for me to evaluate a koi. It takes a fine eye to be able to see the nuances on the head and on the fins. I got confirmation from you on the poor body shape, which was the only aspect I was able to get right. If you don't mind, I'd like to show you another koi or two, where pattern provides no distraction. They are from the same pond spawn. Both the shiro muji (slight pink on head and along the dorsal) and the ki matsuba (my guess of its classification) looks to me to have great conformation. I'm still holding on to them mainly because of their conformation. Will show on next post. As I get the hang of netting koi on my pond, it's been easier to take an occasional video or two.

  9. #9
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    Please keep in mind something I probably do not repeat as frequently as I should. Unlike matters of science, which can be established through research, evaluation of a koi is more a matter of opinion. I try to explain the basis of an opinion I express, but it is still just my opinion. I am not a judge. Others may have very different opinions. The most important opinion is that of the koi's owner, who decides whether a koi is worthy of space in their pond.

  10. #10
    Oyagoi yerrag's Avatar
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    True it is, Mike. Yet there are doctors who don't mind their patients seeing another doctor for a second opinion. And there are those who do.

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