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Thread: Would nishikigoi had developed outside of Japan?

  1. #1
    Administrator Brian's Avatar
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    Would nishikigoi had developed outside of Japan?

    Hi Folks,

    Taking a bit of a breather and wanted to spice things up by posing a question to you all:

    Would nishikigoi as we know them today exist if the first color mutation had happened somewhere else in the world and not amongst a small and tightly-knit farming community in the Niigata countryside? Would people from elswhere have thought to selectively breed from these color mutations to produce something new and endevour to stabilize the varieties that we know and love today.

    I think there's a lot more at play than the simple breeding aspect behind the koi that we see today. Of course there's nice koi being breed nowadays outside of Japan, but would we have nishikigoi had they not caught the passing interest of some farmer looking to fill the spare time in his day with something just a little brighter? I'm sure that mutations are a pretty common phenomenon throughout the world, so there must have been carp sometime throughout history and somewhere else in the world that took this first step just as their counterparts in Japan did...yet nobody thought to try and develop them any further.

    I'm interested in hearing what you all have to say!
    Brian Sousa
    Koi-Bito Forum

  2. #2
    Jumbo Bern's Avatar
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    Ok I'll play.

    I am going to say YES and cite the development of goldfish as my reason for saying so.

    The common goldfish comes in a variety of shapes and colours. Like the carp, the everyday 'Auratus' is a dull coloured fish. It's development into the fish we know today started in China, first with the colour variants and then the fin, eye and body variations.

    The UK, USA and most of all Japan can all lay claim to devoloping variations but their origin was China. So who's to say that if things had been different China could have been the birthplace of koi.

    back to you.

    rgds Bern
    South East Koi Club


  3. #3
    Administrator Brian's Avatar
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    Hi Bern,

    I'll be silent for a while until we have a few more opinions. :wink:
    Brian Sousa
    Koi-Bito Forum

  4. #4
    Sansai Andrew's Avatar
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    Mmmmm... I too think the answer would have to be yes but....
    I doubt they would be the animals that we see today.
    I think there is something of the Japanese culture that has brought them to where they are now and I don't think that would be there had they been developed and encouraged in another culture.
    For sure they would be coloured carp and they would be well developed or advanced from the original genetic hic cup that started all this off, but the current top quality koi, and the hobby generally, are indebted to the culture in which they/it grew and developed.
    Andrew

    "Gentlemen prefer ponds"

  5. #5
    Tosai
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    Believe it or not I've given that question some thought before and I don't think the colored common carp would be anywhere near what they are today if the rice farmers of Niigata hadn't started selecting and breeding them.

    From what I've read over the years about the development of Nishikigoi the Japanese rice farmers would actually take the koi they had selected for breeding into their homes in the winter. Also, from what I've read and heard, they always plan for the future. Considering that they were snowed in for many months and couldn't do much but stay inside and just take care of the bare essentials that would give them a lot of time to study and consider how they would handle the development of the colored carp.

    I can imagine several farmers getting together during those cold winter months and discussing the carp they had found with color mutations and which ones they would breed together.

    I don't think any other culture or location would have led to what we see today.

    Gene
    Gene

  6. #6
    Tategoi
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    Selective breeding happened in other parts of the world but mostly with mammals. I know nothing about anthropology so I'll take a Socratic stab at the question.

    I think it takes a aquaculturist point of view -- you have to have folks whose livelihood depends on the animal they are breeding and those animals have to be completely domesticated. If wild stock are plentiful then you don't need to domesticate.

    Did these conditions exist elsewhere for the common carp? I dunno but it seems likely that they did not -- I know of no other place where the carp was purposely raised as a food animal nor of a people who were so dependent on it. Then again, I know jack squat about agricultural anthropology so I could be wrong. ops:

  7. #7
    Jumbo Bern's Avatar
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    Carp were introduced into the UK and most of Europe by the Romans as food fish.

    Kept in ponds and introduced into lakes they developed into the short, deep, dumpy lake fish as opposed to the riverene genotype found in the esturies of the Black Sea where they originated.

    Left to their own devices the Europeans bred them to be scaleless to aid preparation for the table.

    I guess Japanese Koi were going the same way shapewise. The Matsonosuke influence brought back the riverene shape when he outcrossed with Magoi.

    rgds BERN
    South East Koi Club


  8. #8
    Jumbo
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    Brian

    Natural colour mutations must have been going on for centuries long before the farmers of Niigata selectively started to inter breed. However those breeding carp would have no doubt had alternative motives and shown no interest in the colour variation. The colour variants in the wild would likely be sitting ducks for predators and therefore would not survive and of course not stabilise.

    So therefore I would suggest that no, without the Japanese, koi would not have existed as they do today without them.

    Selective thoroughbred breeding of all sorts of animals has gone on around the world for many years all of which needed some sort of catalyst to start them.

    I guess it fair to suggest the gift of koi to the emperor in the Tokyo show/exhibition of 19XX instigated national interest in Koi.

    Thereafter the numbers of westerners and increased openess in Japan following WW2 would have enabled more people to actually see koi in the first place.

    Mark
    Mark Gardner

  9. #9
    Daihonmei
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    I'll show I am a dunce here. I thought Koi developed in China. And if they didn't I don't know how LONG it would have taken any other civilization to turn to ornamental carp....remember the 10,000 chimps typing at the keyboards would randomly type the great american novel within 10,000 yrs. So one of us chimpanzees might have been the first guy to have "koi."

  10. #10
    Nisai
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    Maybe I am the dunce, but I am sure I have read that coloured carp were kept and bred in China, many hundreds of years before Japanese nishiki-goi.

    If I remember corectly, farmers dicovered and produced an orange variety of carp and presented them to some long ago Emporor or Prince, who kept them in his garden pond. However, I would not clasify a single one coloured variety to be nishiki-goi.

    If I am right about this history, the fact that they did not produce other varieties throughout the hundreds of years of oportunity before the Niigata breeders began to do so, makes the development of true nishiki-goi all that more an intrinsic Japanese phenomenon.

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