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Increased Interest In Non-Gosanke?

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  • Increased Interest In Non-Gosanke?

    Is it just me, or does it seem that over the past year or so the number of serious koikeepers keeping non-gosanke has increased? Or, perhaps it is better phrased that they are giving more space to non-gosanke than they did in years past? I get that impression from postings I see on FB and the like. Some folks who were pretty much gosanke-only seem more interested in such things as the re-invented Yamabuki (crossed with Karashigoi) of Momotaro, ginrin, Kin Showa and the like. Part of it, I think, is that these sorts can be more fun to keep than worrying over the beni of a gosanke. In part, there is an aspect of re-capturing the sense of novelty that hooked folks on koi in the beginning. There is a different sort of excitement in how a Goshiki develops than in the show worthiness of a Sanke depending on how the sumi finishes. Perhaps the Shinkokai giving Sakura, Tsubaki and Botan awards has had an impact? Sort of like giving permission for a jeans day at work leads to every day being a casual day?

    Personally, I notice that I currently have the highest proportion of non-gosanke that I can recall for a very long time. Curious. I never intended to leave gosanke.
  • #2

    Hi Mike,

    I don't think it's you at all. This trend has been building up over the years, and you've hit on some important points. Firstly, I get the feeling that the prices of good quality gosanke has gone through the roof in recent years making obtaining good specimens an expensive endeavor. Friends that go to auctions have expressed their frustration in consistently being outbid by hot money from China or other countries in its orbit. A very good friends vows to stop going to auctions as he calls them overpriced and a waste of time, but always seems to go anyway.

    Just like you say, there's a pressure associated with gosanke which brings a disappointment if the don't turn out how you had hoped when purchased. Not so with non-gosanke varieties (to a point) and they can add a great element of fun to the pond of the keeper and can pull your eye away from a gosanke that doesn't quite cut it.

    When you look at shows in Japan, it seems that gosanke production (at least HQ stuff) is more and more concentrated to a few big breeders. Smaller ones can't compete with the massive breeding/culling/growing operations and seek to cut out a name for themselves with other varieties that aren't quite as labor intensive.

    I think also from the dealer perspective, it makes more sense to bring in more non-gosanke varieties in terms of risk and margin. Gosanke can be expensive to begin with and can take a turn for the worse. If a dealer brings in an expensive kohaku and it loses beni or develops a shimi, he'll have to dump it for a low price or eat the loss entirely. Unless a customer is willing to finance the purchase in Japan and assume the risk, it can be a very bad business decision to risk precious capital on a gosanke that is already overpriced and doesn't allow for a decent margin. Makes more sense to bring in more non-gosanke that allow for higher margins and less risk to either balance the risk out or replace it entirely.

    It might just be me, but it seems that there is a widening gap from the top-end gosanke produced in Japan and what's available here. Perhaps it's just what I'm seeing is limited, but again I think that price is a factor it means that lesser quality gosanke are imported because it just doesn't make sense to take the risk bringing in more expensive gosanke and assuming the risk of something going wrong.

    Everyone likes to feel that money was well spent and the joy in seeing the non-gosanke they purchased flourished brings an element of fun back to the hobby just like you say.

    Just my two cents.
    Brian Sousa
    Koi-Bito Forum


    • #3

      I have gotten into the 3 Hikari show classes. Some very beautiful and elegant koi are to be found there.
      Koi keeping is not a belief system; it is applied science with a touch of artistry.


      • #4

        Originally posted by MCA View Post
        I have gotten into the 3 Hikari show classes. Some very beautiful and elegant koi are to be found there.
        Yep. The breeders have been busy. Much improvement in metallics over the past dozen years. It's not just Yamabuki anymore. True red (or pretty much true red) is not so rare. The improvement of sumi in gosanke has carried over to Hikari, so it is possible to find metallics with reasonably strong sumi at only moderately unreasonable cost. ...'Ordinary people', those who have not been taught that metallics are inferior, always respond with the most enthusiasm for metallic koi.


        • #5

          And with the new show awards added for non-gosankes a good Hikiari or Doitsu can indeed win a major award.
          Koi keeping is not a belief system; it is applied science with a touch of artistry.


          • #6

            All my kois now are single colored giants - chagois, karashi, ogons lol


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