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Thread: Roots, Chance, and the foundations of modern bloodlines

  1. #1
    Administrator Brian's Avatar
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    Roots, Chance, and the foundations of modern bloodlines

    Sometimes I take a few moments and pull some of my old Gekkan Nishikigoi issues off the shelf, or flip through the pages of Kokugyo no Saiden to reinforce the foundations of our modern bloodlines.

    A few weeks back, I decided to re-read (I'd never finished the entire article actually) an interview with Kazumasa Morita done more than 20 years ago. Although others also worked to further develop the Sensuke line, but Sensuke with the Morita traits such as strong frames with "taikou" or height in the frame. His kohaku went on to form the basis for Matsue and Sakai kohaku lines that are still going very strong today.

    Reading through the article, Mr. Morita seems like a very enthusiastic individual that was more of an amateur than professional breeder. That's not a disparagement, but rather a statement that he was involved in the forestry industry as a primary career and koi were more of a hobby or side business, at least at first anyway.

    At any rate, very interesting interview that shows some unconventional techniques and views, and also how chance can come into the equation and provide unexpected results.
    Brian Sousa
    Koi-Bito Forum

  2. #2
    Jumbo Appliance Guy's Avatar
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    I find that learning about bloodlines is difficult as there is little discussions on the matter. Shame to, because many hobbyists don't know the roots. And if you don't know where you've been, how can you know where you're going?

  3. #3
    Administrator Brian's Avatar
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    Even though I'm guilty of using the word quite a bit, bloodline has always been a strange word to use with koi. The big "brands" that we see today wouldn't have really developed to be what they are today without a lot of tweaking and the introduction of new genetics. More than a few breeders (including the one I'm reading about now) have never been able to recover from the loss of a main parent. Despite the fact that they were able to procure/produce a good parent, they were unable to continue the "line" once this parent was gone. Quite ironic that it was sometimes others that appreciated the trait, bought a few good specimens as parents and were able to develop their own lines based on these.
    Brian Sousa
    Koi-Bito Forum

  4. #4
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    I am unsure where we (the hobby) stand today when it comes to bloodlines. While every breeder produces some degree of variation, my impression is that there is a higher level of similarity among the major varieties of koi than in the decades past. I am sure that impression is greatly impacted by judging results, since what I see are mostly winners and leading contenders. A higher level of consensus among judges concerning the ideal Kohaku naturally leads to more consistent selections, which in turn influences breeding selections. So, Kohaku breeders trend toward producing Kohaku like those of SFF. The differences between Dainichi, Isa and Momotaro Showa become less. Everyone emulates Omosako Shiro Utsuri. Of course, in every spawn the culls and bulk-sale tosai represent the whole history. Not that I think anyone sees a 'true Manzo' anymore, but perhaps an occasional "sort of like" appears.

    JR used to talk about there being limits to what the genetics allowed. I never wholly agreed with that idea, but understood his thinking. Koi do become better every year, but the improvements become ever more incremental. Progress toward an ideal inherently means movement toward uniformity. It becomes ever more difficult for a breeder to take a big step forward. Last year I acquired a Sanke produced by Isawa Nishikigoi Center. If I did not know the source, I would likely guess she came from SFF or someone using SFF oyagoi. She represents a big step within the INC breeding program, but not in the overall picture.

    My guess is that to see truly different bloodlines within a variety, like 40 years ago among gosanke, a person would have to look to Goshiki or another wannabe that has attracted breeder attention.

    Is something happening in Japan that I'm missing?

  5. #5
    Sansai
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeM View Post
    I am unsure where we (the hobby) stand today when it comes to bloodlines. While every breeder produces some degree of variation, my impression is that there is a higher level of similarity among the major varieties of koi than in the decades past. I am sure that impression is greatly impacted by judging results, since what I see are mostly winners and leading contenders. A higher level of consensus among judges concerning the ideal Kohaku naturally leads to more consistent selections, which in turn influences breeding selections. So, Kohaku breeders trend toward producing Kohaku like those of SFF. The differences between Dainichi, Isa and Momotaro Showa become less. Everyone emulates Omosako Shiro Utsuri. Of course, in every spawn the culls and bulk-sale tosai represent the whole history. Not that I think anyone sees a 'true Manzo' anymore, but perhaps an occasional "sort of like" appears.

    JR used to talk about there being limits to what the genetics allowed. I never wholly agreed with that idea, but understood his thinking. Koi do become better every year, but the improvements become ever more incremental. Progress toward an ideal inherently means movement toward uniformity. It becomes ever more difficult for a breeder to take a big step forward. Last year I acquired a Sanke produced by Isawa Nishikigoi Center. If I did not know the source, I would likely guess she came from SFF or someone using SFF oyagoi. She represents a big step within the INC breeding program, but not in the overall picture.

    My guess is that to see truly different bloodlines within a variety, like 40 years ago among gosanke, a person would have to look to Goshiki or another wannabe that has attracted breeder attention.

    Is something happening in Japan that I'm missing?


    Koi Water Barn .Isa Nisai Showa ???

    Garfield

  6. #6
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by coolwon View Post
    Koi Water Barn .Isa Nisai Showa ???

    Garfield
    The Isa Showa at Koi Water Barn are pretty good examples of what I am talking about. But, since they spent their second year in concrete, they have a bit more of a 'finished' look than I think is accurate... they have quite a way to go. If you were told they were Dainichi Showa, would you have any doubt? I do not mean that as a criticism of the Showa. They are nice looking Showa. But, do you see any distinctive Isa-bred traits?

    Mark Gardner has made clear his love for the beauty of Isa Showa, and I do not disagree with his conclusion that they are beautiful Showa. In fact, I especially like that many of the Showa produced by Isa retain a traditional type patterning. However, I do not see a major distinction between Isa and Dainichi. I tend to think that Dainichi's much greater production volume gives a higher chance of a truly special one being found.... and for greater volumes of lesser examples being on the market. The overall look, form, etc. appear much alike.

    Or, am I missing something? If I visited the two farms this week, checking out the Nisai being evaluated for a third year in the mud... that is, the better Showa the two farms have produced.... Would I see distinctive traits? A 'look' that speaks 'Isa'?

    I like that Isa Showa are getting good press. There are other excellent Showa breeders whose lower volume results in less being said about them. We are too much at risk of just a few enormous farms dominating the hobby. The chance for real improvements increases when selection is made by multiple breeders, each with their own 'eye'... even if they seem increasingly to share a vision of the ultimate ideal Showa.

  7. #7
    Jumbo Akai-San's Avatar
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    Is Mr Oomo still active? I like his young (nisai-sansai)Showa, but never saw any of his Showa older than that.

  8. #8
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    I believe so. I saw photos of Oomo-san at the Shinkokai All-Japan show. He is still part of Nishikigoi Niigata Direct. I have not heard much about his breeding activities in a long time, but have seen postings by Dutch hobbyists of koi bred by NDD. I am not aware of any U.S. dealers regularly handling NDD koi. My impression is that they are popular in Europe. To hear much about a breeder, they either need some of their koi to win some top awards or have dealers promoting their work.

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