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Speaking of Supply Side of Things

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  • Speaking of Supply Side of Things

    Some of the recent posts have had me thinking about koi production around the world. I have a list of websites I visit weekly to see the fish posted. Some are domestic U.S. dealers, some in the U.K. and some in Japan (can't read all of them, but pics are nice). It is rare that I buy anything, but I enjoy the window shopping. Fact is, all but a couple of my koi were acquired from two dealers. It is not that I particularly trust their pricing or believe their puffery. It is simply that I am confident their fish are going to be healthy, KHV-free, from the breeder represented to have bred the fish and that no conscious falsehood will be used to make a sale (but matters of opinion are always a bit suspect to my jaded mind). If I ever learned I was wrong on any of these points, I would simply cease to purchase from them.

    Both deal in Japanese-bred koi. Until the time comes they decide dealing in koi bred in China or Taiwan or Israel or ..... wherever will be part of their business, it is pretty unlikely I'll be acquiring any. Of course, there are two particular domestic breeders I'd patronize because I'm confident of their health regimens.

    All of which made me think of how much reliance we place in our dealers' word. If I am told a Sanke was bred by Marujo, why would I suspect it was actually from China? Or, if I am told a Kohaku is tosai from the third spawning of a former All-Japan GC, why would I think it actually is nisai from an unknown Niigata breeder? Just my luck I got the weak-gened tosai.

    I do not believe any of my koi were bred in China, nor in Israel, but I can never really know for certain. Some things I accept until the source is proved unreliable.

    Dealers are in it for the money, but for many it is also the love of the fish. We hobbyists are very dependent on them. It makes for a curious relationship of never completely trusting them, but in so many ways blindly relying on them. Rather like a drug addict must rely on his dealer? ... a very honorable breed. I'm glad there are two I feel sure about. It would be tough if I felt that way about only one.
  • #2

    You got me thinking.....Well anyways, I trust my dealers pretty well...I am almost there every shipment that comes in, even to the point of helping unload...I see the boxes with Japan Airlines all over it and I feel very confident they are from Japan...
    The world sleeps as the chance to learn something new passes.


    • #3

      Hello Mike,

      Besides trusting your dealer, the better kois imported in recent years have certificates from the breeders. Each certificate has photo of the koi and some description on size, time of birth, sometimes even the parent koi etc. And it is always garranteed female. This way you can be sure 100%.


      • #4

        I think we should change 'koi hobby' to 'koi addiction', 'koi hobbyist' to 'koi addict', or we can change 'drug addiction' to 'drug hobby'.

        a while back I heard that a 'japanese only' koi dealer in the US actually import from taiwan.



        • #5

          Pretty interesting...A guy selling Taiwanese Koi as Japanese Koi...Must be really nice looking koi if you did know where they are from....
          The world sleeps as the chance to learn something new passes.


          • #6

            Ooops, talked too much. I may have forgotten the name of the dealer. I don't know him anyway.



            • #7

              Stan, it's best you say nothing more.....Because you are going to stir up some drama with this.....
              The world sleeps as the chance to learn something new passes.


              • #8

                In any business relationship trust is earned. In most businesses, even koi, owner operators are out to make a living.Quality is like buying oats, if you want good clean fresh oats you must pay a good price for them if your satisfied with oats that have already gone thru the horse, then they come a little cheaper.

                The certificate program does insure that the koi was bred by which dealer. It doesn't prove it was his best individual from that spawn. Even Our hero Momotaro culls his koi, meaning some don't make his standard. Now are these koi
                destoyed or sold wholesale to the best bidder, who can honestly sell them as from a famous breeder? A few years back when Mano-san was still alive (daiinichi) breeders would buy his stock and breed them to market as daiinichi.
                It isn't Daiinichi unless daiinich breeds them and culls to HIS STANDARDS!

                bottom line is you need to be able to learn and identify what makes a good koi .I have seen some tremendous values in unknown japanese breeders koi because the hobbists knew what to look for and didn't have to pay for the name.

                Learning is evoluntionary, it takes time and money. I good bet is to look closely at famous breeders stuff and be able to identitfy what makes their better koi turn out. You still have to provide healthy water and an uncrowed habitat.

                one hobbyists I know goes to japan and always asks for a quote on the breeders #1 koi. If the breeder thinks it's his best it probably is. If this guy can then afford it he buys it. His success rate is very good!

                just some thought on a very deep subject
                Dick Benbow


                • #9

                  It isn't Daiinichi unless daiinich breeds them and culls to HIS STANDARDS!
                  Thinking along these lines isn't it difficult to call any non-tatagoi as being from a specific breeder?
                  In general anything not classified as tatagoi by the breeder is a culled fish. Tosai are killed in the initial culls simply because these have no prospect of ever having any monatary value except as rose food. The investment at this point is marginal but increases as point at which the fish were spawned recedes. At some point the fish will offer the prospect of a return of some sort and can be sold, but call it what you will, this fish hasn't made the grade to some degree and must be gotten rid of.
                  So where do we draw the line? At what point is a fish worthy or not? Anything a breeder sells much surely represent the genetic traits of its breeder to a greater or lesser degree?

                  Semper in excreta, sumus solum profundum variat


                  • #10

                    nicely stated


                    • #11

                      B. Scott: You are exactly right, but I think the point Dick was making was a little different .... that what the koi kichi come to know as a particular breeder's line is made from more than genetics. There is an art to it in the eye of the breeder.

                      Some time back Brady B. shared some photos with me in a private message of tosai from lines of Showa, Sanke and Kohaku he is developing. [It is for him to post them if he wants.] The "eye" of the breeder could not have been more clear. The similarities were so great that on first impression they could have been fraternal triplets. Their culled siblings may have been spawned by the same hands, but were not the product of the same mind.

                      I am aware of more than a few breeders whose trash culls enter the trade as anonymous low grade koi for the domestic aquarium trade. They'd not allow their name to be associated with such culls, but the revenue helps make ends meet. I think their standard deserves respect. If a breeder does not choose to acknowledge a fish as one he bred, then the public should not be led to think the fish is deserving of the honor. No problem saying that one or both parents were Danichi-bred, but cannot say the fry are Danichi fry.


                      • #12

                        Hello too y’ Scott

                        I’m at the moment just sitting her reading up but you riddle my chain as normal.

                        We are glad and envious one your behalf after reading this tread. Totally agree in the trust and seek out part. We used seven years too find the one and its just three small country’s away. Her in Norway most off the Nishikigoi for sale are “Japanese” and its really no big add for the breeders we have learned too respect.

                        The grey zone feels more like a black one for us. We feel that in this age off communication and equipment there should bee only a modest cost involved in following the lower grade all the way home too us the customer. This would bee before comparing with the free advertising!

                        We don’t feel that it would harm the breeder to state that this is for example his lowest grade off Tateshit. In fact we brought home some off these a couple off year ago and the by far outperform most off the Nishikigoi available her. As you stated we even can recognise some off the traits. And when closing our eyes (not looking at the pictures you guys have) we know that we want a better one next time and from whom.

                        By implementing something like this the competition would take one a better taste. The novices would get a better feel for the hobby and relation too the sources and skills involved would bee clearer.

                        Too our knowledge there are not many (if any) her that can support there claim too Japanese Nishikigoi further than their name (Norway) As for breeders the answer for the same shipment often is whatever you as an customer will claim (tried this out with three different testers).

                        This ranting above is not too excluding anyone. We breed one the lowest ever-possible scale and have the deepest respect for anybody that can deliver nice and better Nishikigoi. Still out off the 20-50 Nishikigoi that leaves us every other year every one has its origin paper and data with them. They are just at our level nothing more or less.
                        Tone - Truls -Petter
                        Vogata NI


                        • #13


                          Sorry but as well as I understand your point it’s also the same thing that makes it hard for the best breeders to become household name in the start end off the hobby. Side by side with these every other origin and qualities will bee sold.

                          As long as there are now way off knowing they also will suffer when bad things happen. We have not the number off times that we have been in too this her at our low level. Since all are Japanese every sickness known koikind comes from Japan.

                          This is as we hope you understand not our view, but they do fetch a better price tagged as Japanese.

                          In our neighbouring country there are even a discussion (sincere one) about keeping Nishikigoi out if its breed outside their border. The responsibility off the individual breeder and importer is neglected since for most (if not all) its unknown.
                          Tone - Truls -Petter
                          Vogata NI


                          • #14

                            Vogata: You make a point about new hobbyists that deserves more attention, at least in the U.S. It is normal at local koi shows in Florida for there to be several area breeders selling domestic koi of very low grade at very low prices. The breeder-dealer is pleased with the profit of selling a 5-10cm tosai for $5.... He would pleased to get about $0.75 apiece selling direct to pet shops, and only pennies each selling to a wholesaler who supplies pet shops. A huge number of such trash koi are sold to new hobbyists. Talk to these breeders and some cannot even tell you what a Showa is. Their real experience is in mass producing aquarium fish, feeder goldfish (raised as a food for large aquarium fish) and the like. Koi are just another fish. [Do not confuse these "used car salesmen" of the koi trade with the few domestic breeders who truly are nishikigoi breeders, like Brandwood, McCann and some others.]

                            But, I have seen Japanese tosai that would not make it past the third cull imported by a well-known dealer to supply the same market at $15-$20 per koi, but only at koi shows where the volume can be sold quickly and the cost of holding inventory avoided. The breeder(s) are not mentioned. These tosai are low grade by Japanese standards, but have better color and form than the domestically produced trash koi. The new hobbyists are immediately attracted to the better color and the imports sell out. Such koi will not amount to much in the eyes of the koi kichi, but I think they do more to elevate awareness of new koikeepers.

                            I am not eager to see a lot of Japanese cast-offs, but it would be an improvement on all the domestic trash koi. The competition at the low-end of the hobby could only help expand the high-end. Problem is, the dealers who focus on quality cannot make a sufficient profit to carry such tosai regularly, and the aquarium trade does not sell much in the over $10 retail price range. It is a marketing conundrum... the mass market pushes pricing down to the trash koi level, while the kichi market pushes pricing to absurd heights only the koi-addicted could ever think rational.


                            • #15

                              Dear Mike

                              If we should be our own judge for the fun off it we place us self in the trash compartment. Still we give out an authentic document, if we only could get this over too all levels off Nishikigoi out off serious outlet. There hopefully would bee an turn in the newbees level off awareness. We would bee delighted to get more hobbyists interested in the ones that really breed with a higher goal in mind.

                              It would sometimes be god just too get a confirmation on the commitment from the better outlets. It would bee much like the origin or control we expect when buying steal or meat. We do believe that when the ordinary consumer starts asking or demanding accountability it will come and bring out a better environment for all that are committed.

                              I have not the number off times we have had to put in one off our “trash” Nishikigoi just for the sake off not losing a fellow hobbyist. For us before we went abroad it was hard (read impossible) to get even a copy off the original health certificate. Yes the one that follows all Japanese shipment. Needless to point out that when there are no trace off breeder or origin blame goes all ways and then often hits the wrong targets.

                              We do know that the best ones are always with a certificate and often with photos. Still isn’t this the wrong end for quality control and marked building? When push print on one Kawarimono the cost is the A5 but the message is, its or beloved and well keep one. We stand for its health and hope you also will take care of it…

                              If its really so that Japanese breeders wont bee associated with Nishikigoi below show level, well then its only fair to assumed that this will bee in the hands off some neighbouring country or other hard to control source. We hope that this is not a part off their strategy, but it’s hard to understand her far away.
                              Tone - Truls -Petter
                              Vogata NI


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