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Thread: What is Magoi?

  1. #1
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    What is Magoi?

    As of now I dont know if Magoi refers to a koi with dark patterns, or a a sub breed of asian wild carp. I havent really gotten any accurate answers in the internet, they always say that its the dark colored koi fish, but there is such thing as magoi koi with patterns such as showa etc. When I search pictures of Magoi koi they seem to have similar patterns just like other koi but they seem less bulkier. Is the lack of bulkiness a characteristic of the bloodline? Is it considered a koi bloodline/subspecies of carp?

  2. #2
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    The term 'magoi' gets used loosely on occasion. In terms of the development of nishikigoi, the Magoi is a race of wild common carp found in Japan. You can get a debate over whether the Magoi actually originated in Japan or arrived from elsewhere as a food fish a millenium or more ago. However it became established in the wild, it did and developed sub-strains. The word can be translated to mean 'black carp'. But, it is not really black. If you ever see a Magoi, you would see a dark, charcoal color carp with vague suggestions of a rusty brown and a bluish dark gray depending on how the light strikes the scales. The three sub-strains commonly mentioned are Asagi-Magoi (more hints of blue-gray) , Tetsu-Magoi (iron magoi... more rust-brown shading to the dark tones)and Doro-Magoi (mud magoi... more brownish). It is said that when the Asagi-Magoi got old, the pigment would weaken, showing a lighter gray on the upper side and more reddish tones on the underside..... extremely poor imitations of the Asagi variety we know today. Over time, the Asagi-Magoi gave rise to the Higoi, a reddish carp. The Tetsu Magoi produced carp with a tendency to have dark scales on a less dark body, which led to Matsuba-type scalation; and some pale individuals gave rise to Kigoi, yellowish carp (not nearly the pure yellow of the best Kigoi to be seen in the 20th century). As these more interesting pet fish were crossed, there began to be carp that could be recognized as the beginnings of koi. Today, such fish would all be culled. It took centuries for fish to be developed that we would consider worth spending even a dollar to get.

    Magoi have no patterning. At most, there is a vague tendency toward more reddish tones on the underbelly. Pictures to be found on the internet can cause confusion. In the late 20th century, Toshio Sakai (Isawa Nishikigoi Center, not the Sakai family of Sakai Fish Farm in Hiroshima) sought to improve koi by crossing back to Magoi. Over several generations he re-created Nishikigoi that were genetically closer to the wild Magoi. So, you will see pictures labelled as 'Magoi Sanke' and the like. These are not Magoi at all. It is just a label letting you know it is from Toshio Sakai's re-creation of Nishikigoi from breeding back to Magoi.

    Magoi do not have as bulky an appearance as the refined show lines of contemporary Nishikigoi. They tend to have a deeper body form, rather than wide. The Nishikigoi with recent Magoi genetics can become wider-bodied when older, but the over all look is a more slender fish. They tend toward greater length, with a deeper body. As a result, there is less of a wide back. A wide back is desirable for the display of pattern.... think of a wide canvas compared to a narrow canvas.

    I am not aware of anyone doing a thorough study of the matter, but my impression is that koi with recent Magoi genetics probably have as much total bulk on average as other koi, but hold it differently. There is less in the shoulder and back, but the body is deep. The koi produced by Toshio Sakai decades ago were said to have a cigar-shaped body, differentiating them from spindle-shaped koi. Today, the Magoi genetics are mixed into nearly all lines of Sanke, and from Sanke have gotten mixed into many different breeders' Showa. This shows up especially in some of the Momotaro Showa known for great length. As time goes by, however, the show ring determines where the breeders focus their attention. It has been a long time since a koi showing strong Magoi influence has taken top honors at the major Japanese shows. The traits of greater length and strong constitutions are desired, but the best pigments and volumetric 'presence' come from elsewhere.
    Last edited by MikeM; 10-19-2018 at 12:05 PM.
    cktyu likes this.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeM View Post
    The term 'magoi' gets used loosely on occasion. In terms of the development of nishikigoi, the Magoi is a race of wild common carp found in Japan. You can get a debate over whether the Magoi actually originated in Japan or arrived from elsewhere as a food fish a millenium or more ago. However, whether it became established in the wild, and developed sub-strains. The word can be translated to mean 'black carp'. But, it is not really black. If you ever see a Magoi, you would see a dark, charcoal color carp with vague suggestions of a rusty brown and a bluish dark gray depending on how the light strikes the scales. The three sub-strains commonly mentioned are Asagi-Magoi (more hints of blue-gray) , Tetsu-Magoi (iron magoi... more rust-brown shading to the dark tones)and Doro-Magoi (mud magoi... more brownish). It is said that when the Asagi-Magoi got old, the pigment would weaken, showing a lighter gray on the upper side and more reddish tones on the underside..... extremely poor imitations of the Asagi variety we know today. Over time, the Asagi-Magoi gave rise to the Higoi, a reddish carp. The Tetsu Magoi produced carp with a tendency to have dark scales on a less dark body, which led to Matsuba-type scalation; and some pale individuals gave rise to Kigoi, yellowish carp (not nearly the pure yellow of the best Kigoi to be seen in the 20th century). As these more interesting pet fish were crossed, there began to be carp that could be recognized as the beginnings of koi. Today, such fish would all be culled. It took centuries for fish to be developed that we would consider worth spending even a dollar to get.

    Magoi have no patterning. At most, there is a vague tendency toward more reddish tones on the underbelly. Pictures to be found on the internet can cause confusion. In the late 20th century, Toshio Sakai (Isawa Nishikigoi Center, not the Sakai family of Sakai Fish Farm in Hiroshima) sought to improve koi by crossing back to Magoi. Over several generations he re-created Nishikigoi that were genetically closer to the wild Magoi. So, you will see pictures labelled as 'Magoi Sanke' and the like. These are not Magoi at all. It is just a label letting you know it is from Toshio Sakai's re-creation of Nishikigoi from breeding back to Magoi.

    Magoi do not have as bulky an appearance as the refined show lines of contemporary Nishikigoi. They tend to have a deeper body form, rather than wide. The Nishikigoi with recent Magoi genetics can become wider-bodied when older, but the over all look is a more slender fish. They tend toward greater length, with a deeper body. As a result, there is less of a wide back. A wide back is desirable for the display of pattern.... think of a wide canvas compared to a narrow canvas.

    I am not aware of anyone doing a thorough study of the matter, but my impression is that koi with recent Magoi genetics probably have as much total bulk on average as other koi, but hold it differently. There is less in the shoulder and back, but the body is deep. The koi produced by Toshio Sakai decades ago were said to have a cigar-shaped body, differentiating them from spindle-shaped koi. Today, the Magoi genetics are mixed into nearly all lines of Sanke, and from Sanke have gotten mixed into many different breeders' Showa. This shows up especially in some of the Momotaro Showa known for great length. As time goes by, however, the show ring determines where the breeders focus their attention. It has been a long time since a koi showing strong Magoi influence has taken top honors at the major Japanese shows. The traits of greater length and strong constitutions are desired, but the best pigments and volumetric 'presence' come from elsewhere.
    I actually do appreciate koi with magoi genetics, as it tends to look more natural on the fish. I dislike watching videos of many Japanese koi farms because the fish heads are too small for their bodies.

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