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Selecting Tosai Shiro Utsuri

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  • Selecting Tosai Shiro Utsuri

    I know very little about how to select a tosai Shiro Utsuri, other than avoiding defects and not being put off by yellow heads (or, at least, I've been told that a yellow head on tosai SUs is nothing to be concerned about... Is that still true of today's SUs?) There is self-interest involved in this query. NKF (Quality Koi) has a bunch of its new Shiros in the 555 event beginning tomorrow. I was fascinated by them last Fall when they were just 4-5 inches. I'm just as fascinated by them now that they hitting 9 inches. But, how to go about choosing??
  • #2

    I'm not sure on what bloodline quality koi is using but when I choose my shiro utsuri I always look at body first. Then at the skin quality this means the koi should have beautiful shiroji and not have a yellow head. Some yellowing is accepted but too much and the koi is likely a male. The third thing I look for is the sumi quality if the koi doesn't have some dark ink like sumi then it may not develop high quality sumi. The last thing is pattern if there isn't a hint of sumi its possible that sumi will never come up there. The best thing to look for is a pattern that is up or just under the skin. Hope this helps
    Kurt Kleinholz


    • #3

      Headache (Troy) once said something that has really stuck with me... he said he looks at the tail section of Shiro Utsuri first as that 1/3 of the body tends to be weak in that variety. Since he said that, I started to look at the tail 1/3 of the body and sure enough I see weakness in many... Now I look for that area first, if it is strong I will look at other features, but if it is weak I will move on...

      It makes sense too, cause when viewing hundreds of koi in a vat, you have only a brief moment to make choices...much different than choosing the best of 5 in a bowl. So, for viewing lots of Shiro Utsuri, use the strong tail section to select some choices to bowl. Once in the bowl, use koi standards like body, teri, and yes- even pattern... Pec fins should be treated like Showa fins regarding Motoguru. I like a pretty face, so menware is always nice- the face should have 50/50 shiro/sumi. Body should be 50/50 as well, with sumi wrapping well below lateral line.

      Of course yellow face has been mentioned, although temp, season, stress and water conditions will all affect that, so...

      Anyway, that's what I'm looking at when I see Shiro Utsuri.


      • #4

        Last month Russell Peters visited Omosako Koi Farm.

        Watch this video;

        Russell says; "These are the five we ended up with. They all have certificates and are guaranteed female."

        I spoke to Russell at the recent ZNA NorCal Koi Show about his selection. I know... they are not tosai.

        It supported what I learned about picking Omosako tosai back in 2011 at Andrew's Koi annual growing contest.

        In Search of Shiro Utsuri <-- see what most people selected


        • #5

          Originally posted by koibreeder13 View Post
          I'm not sure on what bloodline quality koi is using but when I choose my shiro utsuri I always look at body first. Then at the skin quality this means the koi should have beautiful shiroji and not have a yellow head. Some yellowing is accepted but too much and the koi is likely a male. The third thing I look for is the sumi quality if the koi doesn't have some dark ink like sumi then it may not develop high quality sumi. The last thing is pattern if there isn't a hint of sumi its possible that sumi will never come up there. The best thing to look for is a pattern that is up or just under the skin. Hope this helps
          That is what I was told and demonstrated at Andrew's Grow Out Contest with Omosako tosai.


          • #6

            Originally posted by ricshaw View Post
            Last month Russell Peters visited Omosako Koi Farm.
            If interested, here is part 1 of 8


            • #7

              I like those videos.

              We'll see if the suggestions help in my study of the tosai photos. The 555 sale event begins today, so I've not much time to study the photos.


              • #8

                I liked #54 Mike for my own pattern tastes. suggest you consider#55.
                Dick Benbow


                • #9

                  One thing you guys might want to keep in mind is that these are not Omosako shiros. These shiros are Quality Koi Shiros. IN MY OPINION as I have not checked facts and don't speak for the QK,,, these are from Atarashi Showa and then shiro parents. I will do some checking. With this in mind I chose #34. Joyce

                  PS,,,, from Last year's web site:

                  On wednesday Mat decided to breeder our Shiro Utsuri. She was breed to one of our Male Shiro Utsuri and a new Male Shiro Utsuri that Mat got while in Japan this winter, from Mr. Toshio Sakai. – Matsunosuku Blood line
                  Last edited by gjs63; 05-05-2013, 11:13 AM. Reason: add info


                  • #10

                    Toshio's latest SU's are marusome sumi. very familar with it, as i am with Omosako's stuff. MY SU is from thier Panda line, the babies of which at this age are very white with little sumi showing. I did help a few friends choose some of the marusome stuff from toshio last year. They turned out great.
                    Dick Benbow


                    • #11

                      Well, I've not picked one yet. Two I was looking at were taken Sunday morning before I could log in. It looks as if folks are avoiding yellowish heads. Many years ago, I was taught not to be concerned about yellow tones on the head of tosai, if the body shiroji is good, because it often clears up as the fish grows. But, I know it does not always clear up. I have looked around to see what might be said about that by the leading breeders of Shiro Utsuri today. The genetics are not the same as what was prevalent even 10 years ago. I have not found anything I consider reliable on that subject. I guess I'll learn from these Shiros when harvest time comes in the Fall.

                      I did come across an interesting piece of advice that I think is worth sharing:

                      General Advise

                      Buying a Shiro Utsuri is not the same as buying other varieties of koi. If you are thinking of buying tosai, you should try one of every different characteristic. Ideally, get one of each type, the ones with almost no visible sumi or kage type, those with heavy sumi, those with speckles of sumi and those with some established sumi including black fins. Each pond condition is different from others. One Shiro Utsuri that performs well in one pond will not mean it will do well in another pond. The best way is to try each of these different characteristic of Shiro Utsuri to determine which type will perform the best in your pond.

                      When choosing a Shiro Utsuri with kage sumi, try to choose those with sharp kiwa. This will likely indicate the eventual sumi to be shiny and has good luster. The base of the scale should also be black. Look for existing sumi for indication of the quality of the sumi. Darker existing sumi gives an indication the rest will come out later.

                      It is common observation that Shiro Utsuri’s luster to decrease a bit when they get into warmer environment. This will become stabilized after a while.

                      ~ Takayoshi Omosako

                      I think that means it is best to cover all bets and enjoy the anticipation.
                      Last edited by MikeM; 05-07-2013, 08:31 AM. Reason: typo


                      • #12

                        Mike here are two examples, I have very high hopes for both of these shiros

                        First I should tell everyone the bloodline on these is dainichi Showa. I have checked and rechecked these to for any sort of developing hi and cannot find any. This being said looking at the sumi development in these is very easy. With the bloodline I have the sumi always comes up I have yet to see any that don't develop.

                        These two shiros I would consider tategoi and I will be growing them for a season in my mudponds. I also believe that both of these are females
                        Attached Files
                        Kurt Kleinholz


                        • #13

                          Mike appreciated your sharing what omosako had to say.

                          Asagi breeders also suggest something similar to buy several "types" and see which one turns out.
                          Dick Benbow


                          • #14

                            SU are such interesting and unique koi, they are not like kohaku that you sort of know what you would get eventually. With SU they surprise you every season and you cannot really pick a tosai for its pattern.

                            I look for the following in a SU.
                            1. I prefer full black pectoral fins - This just balances te koi off for me and it gives the fish more of a presence.
                            2. I try and pick a SU with a balanced look. (Remember it will change but lets try and play it safe - if you cant see any sumi then buy from a well know breeder / bloodline and hope for the best)
                            3. I look at the shiro at the base of the tail. From my understanding one can see the SU's future shiro quality there. (With base i refer to the location just in front of the tail fin)
                            4. Looking at the visible sumi, i look for the best quality visible. The koi must show me atleast one place where i can see the quality sumi. Is it drap matt, is it shiny and like ink. Go for the ones with the ink.
                            5. Look for any yellow / dark brown / red color. I am not talking about the yellow on the heads but actual pigmentation. Any sign of that and i will remove it from my selection. The problem is that often with strong sumi you get tobi hi.

                            I have bred shiro utsuris a few times,my spawning pair is a Masaki female and a Omosako male. If interested you can see a spawning from 2011 here.

                            I have noticed from my own spawnings about 4 different ways that sumi develop, there are examples of these in the link above. This is just my own observations.
                            1. You get the ones where you can see the underlying sumi as gray marks - the gray sumi comes up with time.
                            2. I have had a few where no additional sumi is visible underneath the skin and the sumi appears one scale at a time and fills out over time. I love this type.
                            3. The sumi pattern is showing from a young age, there are no gray sumi but the pattern seems to move around without affecting the sumi quality.
                            4. The shiro has almost no visible sumi and develops with time. This is a bit of a gamble but also an adventure.


                            • #15

                              Very nice, Kurt... I think. I really meant it when I said I have no confidence in my own judgment about tosai Shiros!

                              I have never previously acquired a tosai Shiro. I had a sansai acquired from Ray Abell a decade or more ago, which succumbed to egg impaction. I currently have one gifted to me by Carolyn Swanson some years ago which is simply gorgeous, but no longer suitable for show due to what appears to be a tumor that causes her to bulge on one side. I doubt I will ever have another as beautiful. And, those are the only Shiros I have ever owned. [Correction: There was a third from Omosako, acquired as nisai, which passed from unknown causes.]

                              My fascination with the NKF Shiros comes from having discussed the oyagoi with Mat before he spawned them and learning a bit about what Toshio Sakai was trying to do in his effort to create his own line of Shiro Utsuri, and then seeing the tosai when they were really small after being harvested last Fall. It was amazing to me how there were so many shades of white on such tiny fish... some were a pinkish-white, some a pale peach-white, some bluish-white. I always go up to New Jersey in the Fall, so I'm hoping to see these come out as nisai and get surprised and educated (maybe??) comparing them in the flesh to what can be seen in the photos now. I'd sure like to be able to visit the farm and see them in person before they go into the mud, but I can hardly make time for work commitments these days, so that's not happening. Photos are it until Fall.

                              I ended up selecting two. There is no brilliance, nor any particular insight behind my choices. When I first looked over the 55 photos before the sale event opened, there were 4 Shiros that stood out in a quick first impression. I selected two from among those 4. One was recommended by DickB, #54. The body line and shiroji stood out when I first looked at the 55 photos, but the pattern potential put me off, and no motoguro can be seen in the photo. The other was #51, which caught my eye because of the great pattern potential and long body lines, but it is terribly yellow and the photo makes the shiroji seem flat and dull. Even though both had caught my eye at first glance, I struck both from my 'list'. The more I tried to analyze all the Shiros listed, the less confidence I had in myself. Either I just skipped participating in the 555 this year, or I picked something. I ended up deciding to forget analyzing things and to just go with my gut feel from that first quick review of the photos. There were 3 of the 4 still available, so I went with the one Dick liked (he has always guided me well), and then the one most different from Dick's #54, which was #51. That is all there is behind my choices. Nothing more at all. I wish there was a way to know whether #54 was one of the pinkish-white tiny ones I saw last Fall, and #51 one of the bluish-white ones. There isn't. I'm looking forward to the Fall harvest... Do they both turn out male? LOL.
                              Last edited by MikeM; 05-07-2013, 03:32 PM.


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