Japanese Koi Terminology 25 October 2019

Ever wondered what a Japanese Koi term means ?

Here you go, an easy to understand A,B,C of the most common Japanese Koi terms used.

A

Ago –   An example would be sumi or hi on the gill plate.

Ai – Indigo blue – An example would be the blue in the scales of and Asagi.

Ai Goromo – A koi with an indigo net pattern over the red on a Kohaku.

Ai-Sash – The indigo sashi on an Ai Goromo.

Aizum – Blue sumi tinged with indigo. High quality.

Ak – Meaning red. Usually as red base. An example would be Aka Matsuba

Akaban – Red nose. This is connected to the Kohaku variety of koi with a distinct red pattern that is extended to the nose.

Aka Bekk – A red koi with black markings.

Aka Hajir – Red koi with white tips to the fins.

Aka Matsub – An orange or red koi with reticulated pattern on the scales.

Akame – An eye with a red iris. Most often seen in a variety of koi called Kigoi. Akame Koi are rare.

Aka Muj – A red scaled koi with no other colour. Also called Higoi.

Aka Sank – Hi covers almost entire head and body.

Albin – Congenital absence of any pigmentation or colouration.

Am – Net.

Asagi – A variety of Koi that has a reticulation of grey / indigo blue scales and red along the lateral line, cheeks and fins.

Asagi H – Secondary, undesirable hi appearing as freckles below the lateral line.

Asagi Magoi-  An early ancestor of the modern Asagi.

Atama ga hager – Clean, clear head.

Atama-  Head crown.

Ato sum – Black beneath the surface that becomes more prominent as the koi develops.

B

Bekk – Means Tortoise shell, a solid colour koi with black spots.

Ben – This refers to the deep solid red colour on koi.

Benigo – Non metallic red Koi

Beni Kumonry – Kumonryu with red markings

Beret Hi – Asymmetrical head hi on one side only.

Beta-gin – Probably the finest type of kin-ginrin, where the whole surface of each scale sparkles.

Bire – Fire. A name used for the specific red patterning on Asagi and Shusui.

Boke – A blurred or grey-black area of a black pattern. An example would be an area of undeveloped sumi

Boke Showa – A popular form of Showa, with blurred, greyish sumi.

Bongiri – Missing beni pattern on back half of the fish.

Bozu – No pattern on the head

Bu – Size division or classification

Budo – Arrangement of coloured scales resembling a bunch of grapes.

Budo Goromo – A koi with a purplish, grape like pattern on its white body.

Budo Sanke – A koi with a pattern resembling that of Budo Goromo combined with solid black markings.

Bunka Sanke – A blue Sanke with shiny pectoral fins, seen only as a baby koi.

C

Caroten – The nutrient responsible for the red colour in koi

Cha – Brown

Chagoi – Non metallic koi that can be brown or tea in colouration

Chigyo – Unsorted fry.

Choman – Stomach problem such as a tumour

Chupa –Medium quality fish.

D

Dagoi – Poor quality fish.

Dainichi – Famous koi breeder.

Dan – Step.

Dangara – Stepped pattern.

Dia – Diamond.

Dou – Trunk.

Doh Hi – Hi on the body.

Doh Zumi – Sumi on the body.

Doitsu – Scale-less Koi. German carp that are not fully scaled, usually with a row of scales along each lateral line and a row on either side of the dorsal fin. Has been cross bread with koi to create new varieties of koi.

Doitsu Kujaku – A platinum koi with red markings over its body and black markings in the scales along the dorsal and lateral lines only.

Doitsu Yotsushiro – Origin of Kumonryu; Yotsu means 4, Shiro means white koi with 4 white parts. The nose, tail and both pectoral fins.

Doware – Large white area of a pattern.

E 

Enyu – A doitsu koi with a white body and red markings

Etsu No Hisoku – A doitsu yellow / green koi

Ere – Gill

F

Flowery Kohaku – Many, small areas of hi. No recognisable step pattern.

Fuji – The almost metallic finish on the head of some young non metallic koi.

Fukurin – Skin that grows out from under the scales, creates a netting pattern.

G

Gaijin – Foreigner.

Gaku Hi – Red on upper part of face or forehead.

Giku – Relates to the swimming mode of a koi with a deformed body.

Gin – Colour of silver, metallic

Gin Bekko – Basically a metallic Shiro Bekko.

Gin Kabuto – A black koi whose scales have silver edges.

Gin Matsuba – A metallic silver koi with a black ‘pine cone’ (matsuba) pattern in the scales.

Gin Rin – Glittering scales

Gin Shiro – A metallic Shiro Utsuri.

Gin Showa – A metallic Showa with a glittering lustre.

Ginbo – A black koi with a metallic sheen. Now considered valueless.

Ginrin – The more commonly used term for kin-ginrin, referring to sparkling scale types.

Ginsui – A metallic Shusui with a silver lustre.

Go – The number five

Godan – A godan Kohaku has five hi plates. A five step pattern.

Goi – Carp or koi

Goma – ‘Sesame’ or scattered sumi.

Gosai – 5 years old.

Goshiki – Means 5 colours, Kohaku with blue net pattern on Shiroji and hi, some Goshiki only have net on the Shiroji, red and blues overlap into purples particularly on the head. Non-metallic koi variety.

Goshiki Shusui – A doitsu, non metallic blue Goshiki.

Goten Zakura – This koi has a cherry blossom pattern, the hi is dappled and looks like clusters of grapes

Goten Zakura Kohaku – A cherry blossom patterned Kohaku.

H

Hachi – Head

Hachi Hi – An early ancestor of the modern Kohaku.

Hachiware – Dividing pattern on the head, where part of the head is black and part is white.

Hada – Skin/sheen

Hageru – No blurring on the head. This relates to metallic varieties particularly

Hageshiro – A black koi with white on the head and on the tail and pectoral fin tips.

Haka Shita – Sagging abdomen.

Hajiro – Means white edges. A black koi with white tips on fins, bred from Karasugoi.

Hanatsuki – Hi that extends down to the top of the mouth. This is classed as undesirable.

Hana – Nose.

Hanzome – Another way of saying kamisori-kiwa in which only part of the scale is covered by hi. The kiwa cuts through the scale.

Maruzome – The entire scale is covered with Hi and the kiwa ends as the scale ends giving a scalloped effect.

Hanazumi – A black pattern (or spot) around the mouth and nose area.

Hana Shusui – A form of Shusui, also known as a flowery Shusui.

Hara – Abdominal area.

Hariwake – Means foiled, koi varieties included a metallic white and gold koi, gold can appear in a range of shades from yellow to red.

Hariwake Matsuba – A silver and yellow metallic koi with a black pattern in each of its scales.

Hi  – While Hi, Aka and Beni all mean red, there are subtle distinctions of usage. Hi usually refers to the red markings on the koi while aka and beni are generally an overall colour.

Hiagari – Intensity of the red colour.

Hi Asagi – An Asagi whose red marking extends over the lateral line.

Hi Botan – A koi resembling Bekko, derived from Utsuri lineage.

Hi Iro – Scarlet

Hiban – Red pattern, such as a step on a Kohaku, also used to describe the orange, gold or yellow patterns on some other varieties.

Hige – Barbel.

Higoi – Solid red koi that is lighter in red than Benigoi, also referred to as Aka Muji

Hikari – Metallic

Hikarimono – Any metallic koi

Hikarimoyo – Patterned metallic koi.

Hikari-moyomono – A classification including all metallic koi with two or more colours, except metallic Utsuri and  Showa.

Hikarimuji – Single colour metallic koi

Hikari Utsurimono – Metallic Utsuri and Showa.

Hi-moyo – Red pattern, as in Kohaku

Himozumi – A thin sumi pattern.

Hinomaru – Sun rising.

Hinpyokai – Koi show.

Hire – Fin.

Hirenaga koi – Long-finned or butterfly koi.

Hiroshima Kinginrin – Kin Ginrin as ‘cracked glass’ or diamond ginrin. Scales have bright lines running across them.

Hishitsu – Quality of Hi. Shitsu = quality.

Hi Showa – A predominantly red Showa.

Hi Shusui – A shusui whose red pattern spreads up from the belly and covers the back.

Hoaka – Hi over the gill plate.

Hon sumi – Genuine mi. Referring to the black Sanke markings on a Koromo Sanke.

Hoshi – Opening or window within the pattern.

Hookazuki – A black carp with red cheeks. An early ancestor of the modern Kohaku.

I

Ichi – The number one – not used as an age indicator but used in words like ichiban which refers to the best or #1 or something.

Ichi bu – Size one.

Ichi matsumoyo – Chequered pattern.

Ike – Pond.

Ikeage – Harvest.

Inazuma – Japanese for lightning strike, continuous pattern extending from the lead to the tail that is zigzagged and looks like a lightening strike.

Ipponhi  – One long unbroken Hi plate.

Iro – colour

Iroagari – The degree of colour intensity.

Iroage – The act of intensifying the various colours.

Iromono  – The collective name for all metallic koi.

J

Jari – Gravel.

Jarizumi – Scattered sumi

Jihada – Texture of the skin

Jinbei – Sanke line of koi.

Juji – Cross shape.

Jyami – Small sumi dots. Indicates poor quality.

K

Kado – Edge.

Kage – Shade, shadow or phantom pattern that appear where sumi is unexpected, often seen as a dark greyish centre on a white scale.

Kakure Sumi – Hidden black which promises an even more stunning pattern waiting to emerge

Kao – Face.

Kanoko – A dappled pattern with red centres in scales.

Karada – Body.

Karasu – The crow or black nishikigoi with no white.

Kasane Sumi – Black on a shiro variety of Koi.

Kata  – Shoulder.

Kata-moyo – Pattern only on one side the fish.

Kata Zumi – Sumi patch or patches on the shoulders.

Katasuki  – Koi that show a finished pattern early.

Kawari – Non-Metallic.

Kawagoi – Doitsu with only scales on the dorsal line.

Kawari mono – Unusual or different koi.

Ki – Yellow, used for non-metallic yellow such as Ki Ogan.

Kigoi – Solid yellow non-metallic koi.

Kikokury – Metallic Kumonryu.

Kikusui – Doitsu Platinum koi with a Hi pattern, means a ‘Chrysanhemum in water’, is the same as a Doitsu Hariwake with red markings or a metallic Doitsu Kohaku.

Kin – Colour of gold, metallic, like the shinny skin of a Yamabuki Ogon.

Kindai – Modern

Kin Ki Utsuri – Metallic black koi with gold markings where the gold can range in colour from pale zinc yellow to an orange. High Quality Kin Ki Utsuri are light zinc yellow and are rare.

Kin rin – Gold scale.

Kin Showa – Metallic Showa Sanshoku. A rare variety of Koi.

Kiwa – Sharpness of all the edges of the pattern. Sometimes just referred to as the back edge of the pattern.

Kohaku – White koi with red patches.

Koishi – Nishikigoi breeders.

Koiya – Koi dealer.

Kokeami – Line of scales.

Kokesuki – Lighter area in the Hi plate due to an injury or loss of a scale, a fault.

Kokugyo – Best in size.

Koromo – Means robed. A Kohaku with net pattern on the Hi plates, eg an Ai Goromo has a blue net. When the word is used alone, it start with a ‘K’, but when used in conjunction with a word like Ai, it starts  with ‘G’.

Kuchi – Mouth or lips.

Kuchibeni – Red colour on the lips/mouth, just like lipstick.

Kuchi Zui – Sumi on the mouth.

Kujaku – Means peacock. A Kohaku pattern over Gin Matsuba.

Kumonryu – Means dragon, doitsu black koi with random white patterns, patterns change continuously until mature.

Kuragake – Saddle shaped, referring to shape of hi or sumi patch.

Kuro – black.

Kurogoi – Black carp that was used as food – became the origin of Nishikigoi.

Kutsubera – Tongue or horseshoe shape head pattern.

Kuzugoi – Junk koi.

Kyori – Jumbo.

M

Madoaki – Window of Shiroji in the Hi plate. This is classed as a defect.

Maki – wrap of the pattern below the lateral line of the koi. Hi Maki is desirable in Kohaku and other koi based on a Kohaku pattern and Sui Maki is desirable on Showa Sanshoku.

Magoi – Wild carp that koi was developed from (Cyprimus carpio).

Maruten – Means crown, round red spot marking on the head  (Tancho koi have only one Hi patch, that being the Maruten patch.

Matsuba – Means pinecone, black pattern in centre of scales giving a pinecone or netting pattern.

Me – Eye.

Meisui – Water.

Men – Face.

Menkaburi – Means hood, Hi extending over the eyes on the head covering most of the head like a hood.

Menware – Literally split mask, a bold slash of sumi between the eyes or dividing the face.

Mesu  – Female.

Midori – Green.

Midorigoi  – Yellow-green, non-metallic koi.

Miseba – Focal point, refers to the black markings on the shoulder of a Taisho Sanke.

Mizu – Green coloured koi.

Moto – Base. Original Sumi.

Motoaka – Hi at base of pectoral fins.  Shusui and Asagi only.

Motoguro – Black markings at base of pectoral fins with white at the extremes.

Moyo – Pattern or design.

Muji – Solid, single colour .

Muraski – Purple colour.

N

Nabe Sumi – An unstable flat black pattern.

Narumi – A medium blue.

Nasu – Eggplant. Refers to a type of sumi which is dark and rich, This is the the very best type of sumi.

Nezu/Nezumi-  Grey.

Nezu Ogon – Grey metallic scaled Koi.

Ni – Two.

Nidan – A 2 step pattern.

Nishikigoi-  Translates as fancy carp.

O

Obire – Tail fin.

Ochibashigure – Autumn leaves. Brown markings on a grey Koi.

Ohmoyo – Large pattern covering most of the top of the fish.

Odome – The area between the last colour and shiroji in the tail section. Often called a tail stop. A clear defined odome is desirable and helps make a koi look well proportioned.

Ogon – A single colour koi such as the metallic gold scaled koi variety Purachina ogan.

Oija – Breeders.

Ojima – Black stripe(s) on the caudal fin.

Ojime – Completes the back or last hi pattern on the tail joint.

Oo-moyou – Large pattern marking, refers to a koi with many (more than 5 step) or large pattern markings that go below the lateral line.

Oranji. – Orange.

Osu – Male.

Oyagoi  – Parent Koi.

Ozuke – Tail attachment. Where the tail fins join the tail tube.

Ozutsu – Tail Tube. The body area behind the dorsal fin, or caudal peduncle.

P

Peduncle – Area just before the tail.

Pearl Ginrin – A solid sparkling area on each scale, also known as tsuba-gin or tama-gin.

Pearl Shusui – A Shusui with silver scales.

Platinum Kohaku – A metallic white koi with an overlaying hi pattern. Also known as Kin-fuji.

Platinum Ogon – A metallic white koi, also known as Purachina.

Pongoi – Good quality fish.

Purachina – Platinum. A metallic white koi.

R

Renzokumoyo  – Continuous pattern.

Rin – A scale. This word is used used together with other words such as gin-rin.

Roku bu – Size six.

Sabi – Depth of quality of skin

Sadazo – Sanke line of koi.

Sadazo Sanke – One of the better known Sanke lineages, with bright hi markings and small sumi markings that do not overlap the hi.

Sakura – Cherry blossom.

Sakura Ogon – A metallic kanoko Kohaku.

San – Three.

Sandan – Three. A sandan Kohaku has a 3 step Hi plate pattern.

Sanke – Short form for taisho sanshoku. A Kohaku pattern  with black spots that do not appear on the head or below the lateral line. Tri colour.

Sansai – Two year old koi in its third season of growth.

Sanshoku – Tri coloured.

Sarasa – Red spots on back. Pattern of birds, flowers and geometric patterns.

Sashi – Short for Sashikomi. The leading edge of the pattern nearest the head where the overlap from a white scale over a scale with strong colour (eg. red or black) causes a blurred effect.

Sashi Zumi – Leading edge (nearest the head) of a black pattern. where a black scale in underneath another scale causing a dark blur to the edge.

Sensuke – Kohaku line of koi.

Sebire  – Dorsal Fin.

Selgya – Adult koi

Sembetsu – Cull

Sesame – Unorganised black speckles on red or white base.

Shiki bu – Size seven.

Shimi – Undesirable black spots or scales, occurs on koi with no sumi pattern.

Shiro – White

Shiro Bekko – A white koi with black markings.

Shiro Matsuba – A white koi with a black ‘pine cone’ pattern in the scales on the back.

Shiro Utsuri – A black koi with white markings.

Shirogane – An early name for platinum ogon.

Shirogoi – White koi.

Shiroji – White base

Shiro Muji – Regular scaled white koi with no pattern.

Showa – Short for Showa sanshoku, a black koi with red and white patches.

Shusui – Means autumn colour, a doitsu Asagi, blue koi with red on the belly and up the sides, clear white head with an indigo or black row of scales on either side of the dorsal fin, may have motoaka and hi in the dorsal fin.

Shitsu – Quality of the skin, including white, hi sumi etc.

Shochikubai – A metallic Ai Goromo.

Showa – Black koi with red and white markings.

Showa Shusui – A koi with the strong sumi and pattern of a Showa and the underlying blue of a Shusui.

Shusui – Doitsu Asagi.

Sora – Sky.

Soragoi  – A grey-blue, non metallic koi..

Sougyo – Mature Koi.

Subo-Sumi – Black pattern falls on white skin only.

Suki – Windows and light areas within a pattern.

Sumi – India black colour. A koi with great sumi has deep black markings .

Sumi-goromo – An Ai-Goromo whose koromo pattern is overlaid with solid markings.

Suminagashi – A black koi with scale reticulation in white.

T

Taikei – Conformation of the body.

Taki – Waterfall.

Taki Sanke – An Asagi whose blue body colour is divided from the red markings on its sides by a white line.

Taisho Sanshoku – This is the proper name for Sanke or taisho Sanke.

Takai – Expensive.

Tama-gin – Pearl gin-rin.

Tancho – Red cap.  koi whose only hi is a round spot on the head.

Tategoi – Koi with potential for further development to become very good. A tategoi is not yet finished developing but is tategoi are considered by the breeder as the best koi.

Tateshita – No longer the best koi. Tateshita were usually tategoi but have been regraded as tateshita. Tateshita are equivalent to second best but still above a standard grade koi.

Te – Means hand – Refers to the koi’s pectoral fins which are used in a hand like movement for  manoeuvring.

Teaka – Red base of pectoral fins on a Kohaku.

Tebire – Pectoral fin.

Tejima – Black stripes on the pectoral fins.

Teri – Gloss or shine to skin.

Tetsu Magoi – Predecessor of the Showa, Chagoi and ogon.

Tezumi – Sumi strips in the fins

Tobihi – A singular loose red scale that is not part of the pattern. This is generally classed as a cosmetic flaw.

Toh Hi – Red on the head.

Tomoin – Kohaku line of koi.

Tora Ogon  – Metallic Ki Bekko also known as a tiger ogon.

Tosai – Koi in the first season of growth. Not yet one year old.

Tsubaki Sanke – Aka Sanke with a chain of sumi running the entire length of the koi.

Tsubo – A critical area.

Tsubo Sumi – Critical sumi that balances a pattern and is placed perfectly to enhance the pattern of a Koi.

Tsuya – Lustre. The sheen of the skin on a non metallic Koi.

U

Umebachi – Japanese apricot flower shaped marking such as a Tancho spot.

Uroko – Scale

Uroko kiwi – Scalloped kiwa. This is the same as maruzome.

Urushizumi – Jet black, glossy sumi with a hint of blue also known as tsuyazumi.

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Utsurimono – Reflections. Two coloured, black based koi, white, red or yellow markings.

Uwappi – Thin hi, no sashi.

W

Wabi/Sabi – Appearance of depth to the skin of a scaled koi.

Y

Yakko – Hi on Asagi cheeks.

Yamabuki Hariwake – A silver koi with metallic yellow markings.

Yamabuki Ogon – Metallic yellow koi .

Yasui – Cheap.

Yogyo – Baby koi.

Yon – The number 4.

Yon bu – Size four.

Yondan – Four, a yondan Kohaku has four hi plates 4 step pattern.

Yonsai – Koi in fourth season of growth between 3 and 4 years old.

Yotsushiro – Five whites. A black koi with white on the tail, head, pectoral and dorsal fins.

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