Home | About Us | Contact Us


Koi Forum - Koi-Bito Magazine straight from Japan
Page 1 of 4 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 34

Thread: "Windows" and Koi Appreciation

  1. #1
    Honmei
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Martinez,CA
    Posts
    4,611

    Cool Well Said Mike!

    I have to agree with you, if a window is fading, poor quality Hi, then it should be a demerit. If on the other hand there is a white window in a thick Hi pattern, it should be considered part of the quality of the Koi. The problem here, is that most people do not see it that way, and I began to believe otherwise as well. There was a thread here on Bito that showed several Kohaku, and one of them, which happened to be one of the better ones, had a window in one of the Hi plates. It was not because of weak Hi, it was a pure white window in the Hi. This Kohaku was being downgraded because of the window, so I stepped in to explain that it was not a problem and the breeder himself said it was one of his better Koi. I also explained that windows like this were overlooked by breeders in Japan and was not a fault. Well, you could have heard my head hit the ground when it was lopped off for such an erroneous statement! I quickly decided to leave it alone.
    Three months later when Koiczar and I are picking Kohaku from Maruyama, we noticed a picture of his Grand Champion Showa. After pointing it out, Maruyama brought down four pictures of the Showa showing its growth over the last four years. I noticed the window in the Hi plate right away and had to ask about it. When Maruyama said it was not a "problem", I was startled and said again, "Really"? I then explained, that in the U.S., there are a lot of people that would call it a fault, that too many people judge by using rules that they really don't understand. Maruyama smiled again and said it is not a problem. It was also interesting to note that the window was there four and three years ago, was not there two years ago and came back last year.
    I think that encounter solidified a lot of things for me. When it comes to judging or picking Koi, you need more than to educate yourself with a book, you need to see the overall beauty of Koi, flaws and all.

    Russ

  2. #2
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Orlando, Florida
    Posts
    11,128

    "Windows" and Koi Appreciation

    In another thread, Koiczar commented that the Maruyama Showa that took Grand Champion at the 2005 All-Japan had a "window" in the Beni, and that the breeder commented that it did not matter at all.

    I have thought about "windows" in Hi a number of times as I've looked through old Japanese show books. We are generally told that "windows" are terrible demerits, indicative of low quality and to be avoided under all circumstances. I think there is confusion on the subject.

    First, there does not seem to be consistency in what is considered a "window". Sometimes this term is applied to describe a thin area of Hi in a larger Hi plate where the Hi is fading, or likely to fade, or has faded (leaving shiroji). Sometimes the term is applied to any area of Shiro surrounded by Hi, without regard to the quality of the Hi. I think these are two different characteristics. In the first instance, we are dealing with poor quality Hi. The "window" evidences the low quality, lack of endurance and lack of even thickness. In the second instance, we are dealing with a pattern. A window indicative of low quality Hi may result in a pattern in which there is Shiro surrounded by Hi, but unless the surrounding Hi is thick, uniform and stable, the window remains an indicator of low quality. Typically, the Hi will continue to deteriorate, both in the vicinity of the window and elsewhere across the Hi plate.

    Entirely different is the "window" which is merely pattern... a koi with an area of white within the red. In a young fish this pattern may be difficult to differentiate from a "window in poor Hi", because of the pale area of Sashi or the lightness of Hi on those koi that enjoy the presence of the highest quality Hi that thickens over a period of years as the koi develops. But, in my mind there is a huge difference. If the "window" is simply a part of the pattern, I do not think it should be given much thought unless, as with any element of pattern, it is distracting and detracts from the overall impact of the fish.

    In a recent thread JR observed that face patterns in the highest quality koi of today hark back to patterns of yesteryear which were then deemed primitive and undesirable. Today, prejudice against such ancestral patterning has been overcome by recognition of the overall higher quality. What in the past served to indicate a koi of lesser refinement is now found in koi of high refinement...The important factor is not the pattern, but the level of refinement. Unfortunately, it is often easier to learn indicators of poor quality than to learn what is high quality, because the former can be taught in books, while the latter requires personal observation of large numbers of koi of the best quality. Only by traveling to Japan is this truly possible.

    In my opinion, "windows" are a similar characteristic that must be understood at a more discriminating level than is permitted by the typical checklist of characters to avoid. What is important is not whether there is a "window", but whether there is poor, good or superb Hi. A "window" is a place to focus attention in deciding the quality level of the Hi, but is not a conclusion in itself.

    Thus, a koi deserving of Grand Champion status that happens to have a white area surrounded by red is, in my opinion, still deserving of Grand Champion status. But a koi with poor Hi is undeserving, whether it has a "window" or not. If the koi with poor Hi does have a window, then the poor quality may be more immediately observed; but the quality is poor due to the inherent nature of the Hi, not merely because of the pattern in which that Hi is arranged.

    My thoughts. Just that. Nothing more.

  3. #3
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Orlando, Florida
    Posts
    11,128
    Russell, I don't know how you got your reply to come ahead of my post, but you can tell when I've not had enough morning coffee. I started reading my original post thinking it was a further reply...it sounded kinda familiar! LOL Guess things got mixed up when the Board went down yesterday.

    I would like to know more about the care of the Maruyama Showa during the year when Hi appeared in the "window". And, I'd like to see the photo series. I think I read there is a photo series on her development in the K-B issue I'm still awaiting. I hope it is in there!

    We occasionally see examples of Hi expanding in the Gosanke, and sometimes it seeems from photos to be acceptable quality. Most of the time, however, it is thin, superficial secondary Hi. I've never seen high quality Hi appear in person, so I'm uncertain if it ever does or simply looks like good quality as a result of "photo filter magic". (Amateur photos sometimes tell more than the professional shots.) Since I've not seen the Maruyama Showa in person, I can only guess about her. Her photos show Hi that has a "splattered" effect that almost has a sparkle to it in how light plays off it, rather than the multi-coats of paint seen in the 2006 GC Kohaku. This comes from a different genetic line than the highest quality Hi seen in Kohaku today. (I do not intend to imply that her Hi was not high quality, only that it comes from a different gene pool. Not having seen her, I can only guess about her based on photos. Some Matsunosuke-based Sanke seem to have a somewhat similar sort of "splattered" Hi.)

    Well, I'm just rambling to no end. ...I'd like to know more about the Maruyama Showa.

  4. #4
    Honmei
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    2,744

    That was a nice trick

    Replying to a post and have it precede it!

    Russel, I haven't seen the Koi you mention but as I read your post one area stood out in my mind:

    It was also interesting to note that the window was there four and three years ago, was not there two years ago and came back last year.
    That statement in and of itself should offer an explaination why judges typically look unfavorably on "windows". Windows within a pattern are "typically an indicator of other possible "issues". A window that appears and disappear only to return would be a definate indicator of unstable beni (still developing or receding). As for the breeders comments? Well, I always judge things for myself since others may have an "interest" in the sale. Are all windows looked at unfavorably? Of course not.

    Steve

  5. #5
    Jumbo Regenmeneer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Netherlands
    Posts
    751
    Great thread!

    Personally, I feel windows on Showa are less of a "demerrit" than on a Kohaku! With Showa, it's somehow less disturbing becuase of the interaction between Shiroji, Sumi and Beni. On some Showa it actually improves the koi becuase it balances out the pattern or shows off the shiroji on a koi predominantly covered with Beni and Sumi.



    On this picture the Showa has a window that shows us Shiroji that is definately of a lesser quality than that on other parts of the body. I'm wondering how it will develope, but would not gamble on it becoming much better. It looks to pinkish to me. Any thoughts?

    As for the new direction Kohaku are taking, at least the ones that seem to grow bigger and the patterns which are less conservative that go with them, some things come to mind.

    I'm wondering if it's because of magoi blood being brought back into them, that they grow bigger and have less "cultured" patterns. This would make some sense as these patterns would have been bred out of Kohaku over many generations, and at the same time making the gene pool smaller, leading to smaller koi.


    Or that this is a traid geneticly still available, but that has been culled for many years because of pattern. A hidden treasure of sorts!

    In any case, I guess this development in Kohaku breeding means that pattern is becoming even less important in comparison to confirmation and skin quality.

    Regenmeneer

  6. #6
    Honmei KoiCop's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    3,774
    MikeM, Russell, Steve and Regenmeneer:

    Wow, super thread. You guys have had me thinking for several days now, trying to get my head around some of your individual observations, much less weave them into a unified pattern theory. I was hoping JR would shed some more light on this line of thinking – you know, sort of tie things together for us -- but, oh well. Anyway, I can’t wait so here goes.

    Some Conclusions re: The Relative Importance of Pattern When Judging Nishikigoi

    GENERAL QUALITY PARADIGM: Generations of Japanese nishikigoi breeders sought to improve Quality while at the same time maintaining the harmonious balance between the various major elements of Quality, to wit: Pattern, Color, Size, Conformation and Finish.

    GENERAL PATTERN THEOREM: The most evolved and refined pattern is the dorsal pattern isolated above the lateral line (as seen in gosanke).

    Many gosanke pattern deficits or demerits have been identified and we have learned to avoid them when purchasing or judging koi. The two specific demerits mentioned in this thread were windows and menkaburi. Some other common gosanke pattern deficits are bongiri, bozu, hakamahaki, ippon-moyo, kabuto, and zobonhaki.

    Juvenile Pattern Corollary: In sub-adult koi, pattern has an increased importance since conformation at that stage of development is either wholly absent or rudimentary at best.

    Inbreeding of gosanke produced increasingly refined and flowery patterns (more hi steps of correspondingly smaller size) but this eventually caused GC size to hit the wall.

    Outbreeding to magoi lines has re-energized the pursuit of exceptional size by injecting fresh genes but it has sundered the erstwhile harmonious balance between the traditional elements of quality.

    When JR talked about “trait = goal” he either meant that:

    1. To approximate their goal (magoi size), breeders have been forced to accept the magoi-hybrid’s retro-primitive patterns (e.g., menkaburi), or conversely that;

    2. By selecting magoi-hybrid koi with retro-primitive patterns, breeders have an increased chance of achieving their goal (approximating magoi size).

    I’m not sure which one he meant and hopefully JR will weigh in to clarify his thinking on this distinction.

    Jumbo Pattern Corollary: In GC quality koi, the importance of pattern (and consequently the associative importance of pattern deficits/demerits) decreases exponentially, and in inverse proportionality, to the increase in size.

    At this rarified level JR said that “pattern is along for the ride,” thereby radically shifting the fundamental GENERAL QUALITY PARADIGM. In fact, Pattern appears to have moved to the back of the Quality bus while Color, Conformation, Size and Finish continue to ride up front. Though a dorsal pattern remains intrinsic for a GC contender, a refined or evolved dorsal pattern does not.

    So now we have two different standards for judging koi depending upon their size/maturity.

    This being so, we are left with the conundrum that the same type of pattern deficit which could be considered a major problem in a tosai or nisai might be viewed as a minor problem in a sansai or yonsai and as no problem at all in a GC contender. Go figure.

    Finally, one has got to wonder: What price the overweening pursuit of size? How far can and will this trend go? What future consequences might there be? In the single-minded pursuit of size must there not be a tipping point beyond which breeders will be forced to restore the traditional harmonious balance between competing Quality elements?

    OK, those are my thoughts so fire away, y’all. Feel free to add, modify or reject any or all of my ramblings! I'm looking forward to it.
    Don Chandler
    Member: AKCA, ZNA, KoiUSA

  7. #7
    Oyagoi koiczar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    2,352
    Don

    You said a mouthful!! However, when you were talking about pattern taking a backseat to color, size, conformation and skin quality let me clarify - that has always been the case when it came to selecting GCs. What make a jumbo fish stand out is a youthful yet powerful look which is representative of body conformation, skin quality/luster, color quality/depth and finally pattern. If you want a good example just look at this years GC. Pattern aside this is one kick-ass fish. To see it in person is to understand and appreciate it. It seems to be a little different here in the States as pattern doesn't ever seem to take a back seat to anything!

  8. #8
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Orlando, Florida
    Posts
    11,128
    KoiCop: I think I know what what JR had in mind, but his explanation will be far better than my speculation!

    If you look back at top koi from the 1970s and 1980s, there are some incredibly beautiful, balanced patterns. This was a period of great progress in refining the Gosanke. Pattern received much attention. But it seems that as refinement of skin quality, pigment, body shape and then size progressed, pattern has received less focus. Overall, I think that if a person reviewed the patterns of the top 10 koi at a dozen major Japanese shows held during a year ... district level as well as national, the top koi of the early to mid-1980s, IMO, have wonderful patterns, overall better than is seen today. But, the overall impact and size of today's koi are several quantum levels ahead.

    For a person who wants pattern (and don't we all?), and is not looking to raise 32" koi (the bulk of hobbyists), there are many fine koi to be found among the stock of the less mentioned breeders. They will never be in the same league as the koi with deep pigment on massive bodies, but they will give more pleasure to more hobbyists than trying to raise a genetically-destined super jumbo in 3,000 gallons of water. And, I think today's tateshita of the better breeders can be superior to the best koi of 1995. No need to spend a fortune to have nice koi, but no way around it if you seek the best of the day.

    Regenmeer: Nice link. I'm not so sure the pink in the "window" is not sashi linked to the adjoining Hi step. In a year or two you might be surprised.

  9. #9
    Honmei KoiCop's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    3,774
    koiczar and MikeM:Thanks for taking the time to share your personal experience and historical observations. You've certainly done your part to help theory come to life.

    Was really hoping more folks would have chimed in by now. I'm beginning to think that maybe I should have pointed out that I'm very much a newbie to koi, that I wrote this up to help get my thoughts together and that I posted it as a starting point to stimulate further discussion and feedback.

    NancyM, Keokoi and Aquitori will all tell you I love to get schooled, folks, so don't worry about hurting my feelings. Help me out here and jump in!

  10. #10
    Oyagoi RayJordan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    San Antonio, Texas
    Posts
    1,780
    Great thread and very interesting and important topic to me as a student koi judge. Determining when larger size/lower quality loses to smaller size/higher quality is by far the hardest part of judging koi at this point in my judges training.

    In my limited judging experience a demerit in pattern has rarely tipped the judging decision in larger koi sizes one way or another. A window is a demerit but all koi have some demerits. Many have critisized the recent AJS - Grand Champion for it's head pattern covering one eye. Obviously this was not a problem/demerit vs the overall size/quality of that koi in the opinion of the majority of the shinkokai judges.

    One of the many issues in discussing koi judging vs koi purchasing is individual tastes. My favorite type of koi is showa but when I am a koi show judge I cannot let this or any other personal koi preference cloud my analysis and ranking of koi in a show based on their merits vs demerits.

Page 1 of 4 123 ... LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Tosai "baby" koi vs tiny "bonsai" koi
    By RayJordan in forum Main Forum
    Replies: 22
    Last Post: 07-31-2014, 07:29 PM
  2. Is "Jumbo" as misused as "Tategoi"?
    By Lam Nguyen in forum Main Forum
    Replies: 13
    Last Post: 07-16-2008, 03:15 PM
  3. Judging Koi: "On The Day" vs "Quality"
    By MikeM in forum Main Forum
    Replies: 39
    Last Post: 07-03-2008, 04:02 AM
  4. SD koi show "" YOU WRITE THE CAPTION""
    By keokoi in forum Main Forum
    Replies: 24
    Last Post: 02-23-2007, 11:17 PM
  5. Fry "appreciation", pics
    By estanque_koi in forum Main Forum
    Replies: 18
    Last Post: 06-01-2005, 12:01 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Articles - Sitemap - FAQs and Rules

KB Footer Graphic
Straight from Japan... For the serious hobbyist!
All content and images copyright of: Koi-bito.com