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Thread: Is "Jumbo" as misused as "Tategoi"?

  1. #1
    Oyagoi Lam Nguyen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Portland, Oregon

    Is "Jumbo" as misused as "Tategoi"?

    I have been hearing "jumbo tosai" or "jumbo tategoi" a lot lately and I tend to cringe when I hear these words because with the status of "jumbo" comes a hefty price tag. But is this word as misused as the word tategoi and just a marketing gimmick or is there some legitimacy in it?

    To me, the word "jumbo" is a breeder's tategoi with the genetics to grow big in a short amount of time, with many reaching 80+ cm by yonsai. They are usually kept in mud ponds at very low stocking density and, more importantly, are kept in heated & highly aerated ponds inside greenhouses during the winter months where they are fed the best quality koi food. Some breeders are even injecting pure oxygen (yes, the same pure oxygen that people use in the hospitals) into their "jumbo" ponds in hopes of getting that extra cm of growth or two. By the time these jumbo tosai are 12 months old (ake nisai), many are as long as 15". When they are 24 months old (ake sansai), these koi may be up to 24" in length!

    I can think of several reasons why many breeders are jumping on the bandwagon of creating jumbo tosai/tategoi. Probably the most important reason is money. After all, breeders are businessmen who are out there to make money. Another reason is to be able to sex ake nisai before they are released into mud ponds for the 2nd grow out season. As we all know, females are worth much more than males, so it's advantageous to be able to separate out the males and send them overseas while keeping the females in the limited mud pond space. Heck, even dealers are using this term loosely, saying that some tosai are "jumbo" tosai when they are only 8-10" in length by 12 mos of age.

    My question is, are jumbo tosai really worth the investment from a collector's/hobbyist's perspective? The only reason that I can think of is being able to sex tosai for those who want to buy jumbo tosai. Another potential reason is the slight advantage in growth compared to the jumbo tosai's siblings. After all, we all know that growth is very important in the koi's first 3 years of life before the become sexually mature. There are others who may argue this statement, saying that regardless of how big or small tosai are, if they have the same identical genetic makeup, then they will eventually reach the same size. To a certain extent I believe that this is true. However, the average tosai would take anywhere from 6-10 years to achieve the mature size that its jumbo siblings may achieve in 4-6 years.

    Some breeders are against this method of raising koi, saying that it is detrimental to the koi's health. They state that, while these koi may achieve growth in a short period of time, many do not live as long as koi that are raised the "natural" method. Jumbo tosai also are more prone to ulcers and other medical conditions.

    What are your guys' thoughts on jumbo tosai? Are they worth the extra price tag or are they just a marketing gimmick?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    I also cringe when I hear these terms. Often times there will be Nisai labeled as Jumbo Tosai. They may have in fact been jumbo tosai when they were tosai, but the less knowledgeable may not understand that they are not actually Tosai any longer.

    Genetics will determine whether a koi has the potential to become a true jumbo koi of 34+" ...or there abouts. I look back at my grade school days. I was rather tall, but always the 4th tallest all through grade school. Funny that by the end of high school I was taller than the other three.

    In other words, not only does genetic potential play a part, but also the difference between individuals to grow at different rates at different times.

    Just my 2 cents.

    The views presented are my personal views and not that of any organization that I may belong to unless otherwise specified. [email protected]

  3. #3
    Daihonmei dick benbow's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    seattle, wa
    when i talk about "jumbo Tosai" in my classes, I like to referr to the japanese sport of Sumo wrestling. Children are pushed for weight gain
    and after their stint at trying to make it to the top, end up with health issues later in life.

    From a breeders standpoint, the pattern is a little advanced, they're easier to sex, and size seem to add some credibility for an elevated price.

    From a hobbyists standpoint, It's a buzz word ( like the age old marketing tool for a product ) It's new, it's improved......it's the best! Doesn't everyone want the best in so much as to have an advantage over other show challengers?

    manys the time when I deliberately will pick the smallest tosai of the bunch that comes from genetically superior parents. It got cut cuz it didn't make the grade but I find them to catch up later in life and they often turn out female.

    I went thru a few boxes of tosai this year and took this one from the single a grade ( tho had AAA to select from) It was the smallest of the bunch......
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Is "Jumbo" as misused as "Tategoi"?-img_0474.jpg  
    Dick Benbow

  4. #4
    Daihonmei PapaBear's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Davenport, Oklahoma
    I think you made a lot of good observations in your question post, and with so much "tulip mania" marketing hype, the words Jumbo and Tategoi have both lost all of their true meaning for most retail customers.
    I often wonder how many "jumbo tosai" are even tosai at the time of sale rather than nissai. An average nissai is worth X but if it is perceived as a "Jumbo Tosai" the implied growth potential drives the perceived value up in the mind of the customer. Add the "Tategoi" tag to the description and suddenly visions of a 90cm female with a wall filled with trophies fill the imagination. How many tategoi are sold as tosai??? My best guess would be precious few who are advertised as such. If I was a betting man I'd wager that most tategoi sold young are the "little" guys who slipped through the cracks at culling time.
    Larry Iles

  5. #5
    Daihonmei aquitori's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    NorCal Biotch!!!
    Quote Originally Posted by Lam Nguyen View Post

    My question is, are jumbo tosai really worth the investment from a collector's/hobbyist's perspective?

    What are your guys' thoughts on jumbo tosai? Are they worth the extra price tag or are they just a marketing gimmick?
    To me I dont think they are worth the investment, unless they were grown out in Japan in the very best condition. A tosai is a tosai regardless of size or label they all share one thing in common....A 20% success rate to go one to the next year.

  6. #6
    Oyagoi RayJordan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    San Antonio, Texas
    The only word more mis-promoted than Jumbo Tosai is tategoi. Anyone notice that there a very, very, very, few Jumbo Sansai? Wonder what happened to all those jumbo Tosai?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    SJ, CA
    Quote Originally Posted by RayJordan View Post
    The only word more mis-promoted than Jumbo Tosai is tategoi. Anyone notice that there a very, very, very, few Jumbo Sansai? Wonder what happened to all those jumbo Tosai?

    They were all culled at nisai


  8. #8
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Orlando, Florida
    LOL.... I like that one, Ray.

    Several years ago I had an undesired spawning in my old pond. A couple of the fry survived, with one interesting enough to grow along. At about 9 months of age, he was 16-18". When I took him to a local club meeting to give away, I recall a member who was amazed at his size. They had koi several years older that were not as large. Mine grew because of the long growing season in our warm climate, plus the huge water changes (50% or more) provided every week. Theirs had not grown because their pond provided low gallonage per fish, was under-filtered, had waterlillies crowding the water and water changes were done 'when I have time and think about it' . Believe me, my 'jumbo tosai' was never going to be a jumbo koi, and the quality was very low. The genetic potential of the stunted koi had once been far greater.

    As I posted in reply in another thread today, I think there are valid reasons a person would desire a 'jumbo tosai', but it should not be because of a belief that a 'jumbo tosai' has more genetic potential to grow large than its 8" siblings. (Whether the higher price is justified is, I think, a matter of personal opinion. Unfortunately, too many purchasers do not understand the possible benefits of a 'jumbo tosai', and think they are acquiring the genes for a jumbo mature koi. They pay a high price for something they are not getting.)

    I have heard the comment that 'jumbo tosai' are weaker or more prone to ulcers. I have no reason to believe that is true. To the contrary, the 'jumbo tosai' have been given prime conditions and should be stronger. I can see a problem if the dealer/purchaser does not appreciate that the 'jumbo tosai' has been grown warm and well-fed. Taking any koi in a rapid growth stage and suddenly subjecting it to cold water and rough treatment can bring about problems. I've had many dealers tell me of shipments of normal-sized tosai that 'breakdown' and suffer huge losses.... in numbers more than dollars. The expensive 'jumbo tosai' stick in the mind (and hurt in the wallet) when they breakdown... even just one or two. The loss of inexpensive tosai is a regrettable cost of business, but not nearly so painful.

  9. #9
    Tosai tangigi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    tropical Philippines
    A couple of months ago, a shipment of maruyama jumbo tosais arrived in my part of the world and it arrived with a hefty price too. They all turned out male.

    I have grown tired of gambling on tosais since I do not have the eye to spot a young female. I rather spend a little more and get a guaranteed female Tosai or better yet a female nissai.


  10. #10
    Sansai weesec01's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Quote Originally Posted by RayJordan View Post
    The only word more mis-promoted than Jumbo Tosai is tategoi. Anyone notice that there a very, very, very, few Jumbo Sansai? Wonder what happened to all those jumbo Tosai?
    Good one, Ray. In the end, I think not all Jumbo Tosai can grow big.

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