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Thread: Shiro: White is Bad, White is Good

  1. #31
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    There is a bit of continuing controversy about 'Tancho Shiro Utsuri' floating around the net, with the discussion edging into the historical root of Shiro Utsuri. Seemed appropriate to re-post here my understanding of the subject, since it has to do with the refinement of the shiroji of Shiro Utsuri. ....

    Historically, Showa and Shiro Utsuri were separate branches in the development of nishikigoi varieties. [If you look at some of the old 'evolution of koi' charts, you'll see that there was a common root in Ki Utsuri, but that Showa and Shiro Utsuri developed independently in the early days of Nishiligoi.] However, today's Shiro Utsuri is light years ahead of the drab originals and has it's origin in Showa. Omosako virtually created the modern Shiro Utsuri and began in the 1980s with a Shiro Utsuri parent acquired from Sakai Fish Farm Hiroshima. According to decades old reports of Peter Waddington, that Shiro Utsuri oyagoi was matched with ones Omosako already had and resulted in such improvement in the offspring that Omosako decided to specialize in Shiro Utsuri. This was surprising at the time because nobody was much interested in Shiro Utsuri, which were then perceived much like Shiro Bekko... drab, low quality koi. Those Shiro Utsuri had what was called 'country sumi', weak sumi that was more gray than black and seldom intensified to more than a watery charcoal gray color. The Shiro Utsuri obtained from Hiroji Sakai came out of Sakai's Showa breeding.

    The now defunct Koi Nations magazine had a good article about Omosako. Excerpts:

    In 1980 the Omosako family stumbled on a Shiro Utsuri that they thought might make a very nice Oyagoi (female parent). For its day it had incredible Sumi and great white and they hoped the genetic material would transfer to her offspring. Omosako's hunch was correct and the offspring became very popular amongst the Koi community. Soon after, these baby Shiro were entered into Koi shows around Japan and took many small prizes. This attention was enough to bring Japanese Koi dealers to visit this small farm in Hiroshima to see these special Omosako Shiro Utsuri. Over the next 10 years Omosako became a name synonymous with Shiro Utsuri. The bloodline becoming more established and the word of the Omosako family's treasure becoming better known, and the family was pleased with their accomplishments. There was, however one very big problem ...While their Shiro Utsuri were elegant Koi that displayed ideal properties of Shiroji and Sumi, [everything else] was just "nice".

    At the time Shiro Utsuri would only look descent at 60cm (24in), and when they reach full size their bodies would balloon up and look like football (the American kind). With many of the breeders focusing on large Gosanke, Omosako felt it was his duty to go against the grain and create jumbo Shiro Utsuri. The quest for a new female to add to the bloodline was realized in 1992 when the Omosako family stumbled on Tatsuma, an 84cm/32%in Shiro Utsuri with perfect body conformation. The number of quality Koi to come from the spawning of Tatsuma and the Omosako bloodline is truly incredible.



    The hard work pays off
    All of the hard work the Omosako family put into developing a high quality, large Shiro Utsuri came to fruition in 2005. The Koi community was in shock and awe when Musashi was introduced to the 37th All Japan Koi Show. There in this blue vat was a Shiro Utsuri that displayed a remarkable balance of high quality, and size and shape. Of course this amazing feat took best in variety, but when Musashi took 85cm/33in kokugyo (best in size), it meant that Shiro Utsuri could not only compete with Kohaku, Sanke, and Show a at a large size, but prove to be the superior Koi. This kind of judgment was no fluke because shortly after, at the 41st Niigata Koi show, another offspring of Tatsuma would be crowned Runner-up Grand Champion. The following year again at the 38th All Japan Show, Tatsuma's offspring would strike again winning Mature Grand Champion. With several different Koi winning high honors by competing against very high class Gosanke, the Omosako family was satisfied in accomplishing their goal of developing the Shiro Utsuri as a serious Koi type. Tatsuma's impact in producing show-winning offspring is not her only accomplishment, she is now retired and her offspring have taken her place as the premier Oyagoi in the Omosako stable. Musashi, Godzilla, Panda, and Patra all are producing beautiful Shiro. In 2008 the Omosako family brought a new source of blood to the family ... Zebra. Acquired from Sakai Fish Farms, Zebra brings the Omosako family as much excitement as Tatsuma did to the farm in 1992. She is in her second year of breeding and the family is already very impressed with the results. Personally, I am very excited to find what accomplishments the Omosako family may be able to realize with this new spark in the bloodline. The dedication the family has put towards creating this impressive bloodline is truly a gift to the passionate and sometime eccentric Koi community"



    It is my understanding that Zebra came out of SFF's Showa program, but I cannot recall where or from whom I learned that.

    The important point is that today's Shiro Utsuri is not a refinement of the old original gene pool of the SU pictured on the 'evolution' charts of yesteryear. It is a contemporary creation based in Showa (and a Showa from a bloodline that has a touch of Sanke added for improving body and sumi), which gave the body form and improved sumi Omosako worked with. Omosako took it further, focusing exclusively on sumi and shiroji, to create a more intense sumi than even Showa possessed and a more pure white shiroji than is found in gosanke (which need a white ground that supports strong beni). The classic utsuri patterning is not so common with today's Shiro Utsuri because the sumi patterning is much influenced by Showa patterning. I would encourage those interested in the topic to find some of the old show books from the 1960s and 1970s. There you will see that the best Shiro Utsuri in the world pre-Omosako were nothing you would want taking up space today.

    All of that is not to say that today's Shiro Utsuri are 'just Showa without Hi'. The fish re-created by Omosako is quite a different koi. The refinement of Shiro Utsuri has proceeded far beyond .... even if it is common for little specks of Hi to show up hinting at its origin.
    ricshaw likes this.

  2. #32
    Honmei ricshaw's Avatar
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    What bloodline (breeding) are the "Omosako Tancho Shiro Utsuri" coming from?

  3. #33
    Oyagoi Eugeneg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ricshaw View Post
    What bloodline (breeding) are the "Omosako Tancho Shiro Utsuri" coming from?
    That would be from the last gosanke in breeding which could have been many years ago
    Regards
    Eugene

  4. #34
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    I do not know which of their oyagoi are producing 'Tancho Shiro Utsuri'. From what I've seen on their site and in 'groupie' discussions, they have several they spawn each year. It seems as if all of their oyagoi may trace back to Zebra Jr and Panda/Panda Jr, but it is not clear to me. Perhaps someone with knowledge of their oyagoi will come along.

    A very experienced koi kichi once told me that there was at least some speck of Hi on every Shiro Utsuri by the time they reach 6 or 7 years, & he had always been able to find one (or more) even on All-Japan entries. But, sometimes you might have to examine the sumi very closely to find it as a stray darker speck within the sumi that has a bit of a reddish glow when the light hits it right. Whether or not it 'always' occurs, my own experience has been that a little speck of red has shown up eventually on older Shiro Utsuri. In my case, the best Shiro Utsuri I've owned was well past her peak when it occurred, but it did occur.

  5. #35
    Honmei ricshaw's Avatar
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    It didn't take 6 - 7 years to see tiny specks of Hi on the nose of my Omosako Shiro Utsuri.

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