Home | About Us | Contact Us


Koi Forum - Koi-Bito Magazine straight from Japan
Page 1 of 4 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 35
Like Tree2Likes

Thread: Shiro: White is Bad, White is Good

  1. #1
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Orlando, Florida
    Posts
    11,128

    Shiro: White is Bad, White is Good

    In different cultures the color white has different meanings. In European-based cultures it generally stands for purity, peace and other good values. In some tropical cultures it is a sign of death and decay, like mold and bones.

    In koi, white seems to be both good and bad. In the gosanke we learn that a true white is bad... it's a "hard white". We look for a soft white, one that has a cream tone. Why? The color contrast is certainly better when a bright blood red is on pure white. When the photos get enhanced for those magazine cover shots, the cream-whites become stark snow-whites. I think the reason cream-white is preferred is experience that hard whites do not support long-lasting red pigment. The red tends to fade, break apart and be shallow. And, it does not help that males tend to have a more pure white than the more desired females. In time we learn to appreciate the overall softer effect of red on a cream base as being more pleasant. But, let the cream edge into a pale yellow and the fish is "trash". In some the old Japanese magazines the cream-white is described as better supporting red pigment. The meaning behind those words is unclear. I have come to think that there is a genetic reason... that the genes for a thick lasting red pigment also express themselves in the pigment cells in the Shiroji. We just don't want them to express themselves too well.

    When we turn to Shiro Utsuri or the Hajiro group, everything changes. Pure white is best. The contrast between black and white is what we search out. Snow and coal. We do not want red pigment to be supported. Cream-white would give a yellowish cast to the fish. Shiro Utsuri may share much with Showa, but the good Shiro Utsuri that are created as red fades from Showa are ones without a cream tone to the white. The Showa with the best Hi are ones into which Kohaku has been bred to give depth to the red, and these have a softer white.

    JR asked a question on another board a few days ago about selecting fish for the overall effect created in a pond rather than for the characteristics of the individual fish. It made me think of a pond I have imagined inhabited only by large single-colored koi. In such a pond, the Shiromuji would be the star. But try to find one without a yellowish head. Very rare creatures. For such a Shirogoi, I think we would want the pure snow. A cream color would make the fish just a pale, dirty version of a kigoi.

    I think I would very much enjoy having such a pure snow white koi. I have never seen such a fish. I doubt I will. All those Shiro Utsuri with snowy whites come from black-based fry. Sumi has a way of making itself known eventually.

    Some rambling thoughts while awaiting a 93F weekend in the shade.

  2. #2
    Oyagoi RayJordan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    San Antonio, Texas
    Posts
    1,780
    Good thread and important points about base color. The type and quality of skin which to a major degree projects and reflects the impression of color that our eyes translate into hue, depth, sheen, and dimension is also important.

  3. #3
    Daihonmei
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    7,642
    Good Post Mike. But you had me screaming at the screen ( I can see but I can't post in 'lock down' on the trading computers!). LOls
    I was screaming cause you got SOooooo Close with comment about the genetics without finishing off the point!!

    Shiro ground used to be referred to, by the old timers, as 'the canvas' that pattern is painted on. This was really meant to be baby talk for beginners in the area of koi appreciation. It would have been impossible for the Japanese to 'flesh out' the deeper meaning of shiro ground. So a general ' soft white- good' and ' hard white - bad' was about all that could be suggested without going to the genetic aspect of these seemly same white shades.
    In truth, the Japanese breeders and ZNA members where already advancing beyond Jitai and other concepts that tied shiro ground in with the overall concept of quality and further, that the 'quality skin' of a certain type displayed the color cells better due mostly to its transparent nature and thickness. The contradiction of 'THICK, but not heavy looking' because it was transparent. This allowed for the human eye to see depth of color in the pattern and allowed for 'coats' of beni to all be seen at one time.
    So the simple version of this is " o, Japanese like porcelain white and Americans, with their western taste, like bright hard white'. It was just not about that. It was that certain skin made the whole fish better. And that white happened to be of a softer white porcelain appearance.
    The hard white is a spreading gene. It was a mutation in koi seen many years ago. It is the mutation that created white based fish and black based fish. This is the first lesson of koi appreciation. From there, the breeding programs refined the white to a clean white and then to the soft white of today. So in a certain real sense, the hard white is a genetic throw back and a more primitive white. It is good for compound patterns ( goromo and goshiki and all karsu goi) in that allows for an intensity of color in young fish ( the skin is thinner in youngsters and the scale surface is less). But not so good for kohaku and sanke. JR

  4. #4
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Orlando, Florida
    Posts
    11,128
    Oh, Ray, JR, so many thoughts & questions. I don't know where to begin. There are a bunch of essays in your thoughts.

    DickB has had me thinking particularly of skin quality, now both of you raise it. Dick analogized to skim milk.... Compared to whole milk, skim milk is translucent in a watery sort of way. Fine skin has that translucent quality. In tosai, such skin on the head allows a slight pinkish tone of the underlying flesh to show through. On the body, it is wet silk with a sheen [not shine]. I've seen few koi of that high caliber. (Need to get to Japan! ) But, one can find koi that are not too many steps removed. I get questions about how the different types of Hi show on such fine, thin skin. And, is such skin also best for exhibiting Sumi? Is such skin linked to orange-based Hi? It seems to me that such skin results in a pale, almost anemic appearance in very young fish... none of the brightness that grabs the eye. The layering of color comes slowly. The white is subdued in the young fish, but does come in time.

    Enough questions and topics for now. Guidance, please.

  5. #5
    Jumbo
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    999
    Snow, Milky, Ivory and Gray white.......

    A pure white (= snow, cool, hard, clear, slightly blue) is usually thin skin.
    A cream white (= ivory, warm, soft, viscous, slightly yellow) is usually thick skin. it often has more Tuya (luster) and tendency to grow big fish with a correct body conformation....like Sensuke

  6. #6
    Oyagoi koiczar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    2,352
    Junichi

    Very well said. Your bowls give a very clear example of what is trying to be explained here. Nice job.

    Mike

  7. #7
    Daihonmei PapaBear's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Davenport, Oklahoma
    Posts
    6,726

    It may be simplistic, but...

    Keeping the notion of a Canvas alive (for the sake of the simpleminded among us... like me)
    Canvas comes in different grades and thread counts. Some are thicker and more durable than others, made from high quality linen thread. High quality paint or dye applied to such a canvas does not sit on the surface, but penetrates deeply into the canvas itself, and multiple layers of paint or dye must be applied to saturate and build solid colors and depth. A canvas like this may seem less bright white in appearance, but the quality is evident not only in its own texture, but in the way it accepts color.
    Take a sheet of white paper instead and you have a thin, hard, fabric. Far less durable, thin, and most of the paint or dye will sit on the surface or bleed badly. It has a brighter white appearance, but it is not the same as that quality canvas you really want.
    Larry Iles
    Oklahoma

  8. #8
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Orlando, Florida
    Posts
    11,128
    SuperKindai has added a bit of confusion. I think it best for our roving experts to elucidate before commenting.

  9. #9
    Daihonmei
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    7,642
    Again, not the color, but the quality of the skin. Sakai of matsunosuke likes to describe the difference in terms of texture. He refers to average koi skin as being like canvas or white denim. And he refers to good skin as having a silk-like texture.
    So in reviewing skin, And I like Kindai's photos, thing this way:

    For appearance- think of the porcelain bowl like kindai posted. The translucent nature of the skin is well illustrated in that picture of the bowl.

    For atmosphere or impression, thing of Sakai's lesson of coarse white canvas vs. white silk

    And for color itself, look for soft white in adult females beyond the age of three and cream-like ( off white, NOT buff colored) color in youngsters.

    JR

  10. #10
    Oyagoi RayJordan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    San Antonio, Texas
    Posts
    1,780
    On my last trip to Japan I made a point of asking several breeders like Toshio Sakai, Maruyama, and Sakuma to show me examples of the best skin types of their koi regardless of other merits such as body shape, color, pattern, etc.

    One thing became very evident. Great skin quality = great Hi & Shiro color quality! Likewise it is very rare and expensive to find great skin/color on a great body. Even more rare and much more expensive to find everything in place including sumi and overall great pattern.

    I took a fair amount of photos but frankly I was unhappy with my photos showing the dramatic difference between great skin and average skin. For some reason it seems to take the human eye to see these things clearly.

    Descriptions comparing great skin to silk vs cotton or whatever description used does not really convey the needed understanding. As worn out as the old prase is - You have to see a lot of great koi with your own eyes to begin to understand. We just do not have that many great koi in any real concentration in the U.S.

Page 1 of 4 123 ... LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Improving the white
    By [email protected] in forum Main Forum
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 05-26-2011, 05:52 PM
  2. so what's your take on white
    By dick benbow in forum Main Forum
    Replies: 20
    Last Post: 08-04-2007, 01:13 AM
  3. White Knuckling it soon!!!
    By Auntiesue in forum Main Forum
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 01-13-2007, 03:42 AM
  4. Omosako Shiro Utsuri "Snow white"
    By keokoi in forum Main Forum
    Replies: 15
    Last Post: 09-12-2005, 10:17 AM
  5. white quality
    By toro in forum Main Forum
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 03-17-2005, 08:50 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