Nishikigoi glossary

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Ago sumi: Sumi on gills.
Ai Goromo: Basically a kohaku whose red scales have blue semicircular borders, giving the koi a reticulated pattern.
Aka Sanke: Hi covers almost entire head and body.
Aka: Basic red.
Aka Bekko: A red koi with black markings.
Aka hana: Red nose.
Aka Hajiro: A red koi with white tips to the pectoral and caudal fins.
Akamuji: Light red koi.
Akame: An eye with a red iris. Most often seen in Kigoi.
Aka Matsuba: A red koi with a black 'pine-cone' pattern in the scales along the back.
Albino: A strain usually demonstrated by red eyes.
Ami: Net.
Amime: Mesh or 'eyes' of scales in a net pattern.
Aizumi: 'Blue' sumi i.e. tinged with indigo (high quality).
Aragoke: Large armour scales.
Asagi: A grey-blue fully scaled koi with hi along the lateral lines, cheeks and in the fins.
Asagi Hi: Secondary, undesirable hi appearing as freckles below the lateral line.
Asagi Magoi: An early ancestor of the modern Asagi.
Atama ga hageru: Clearness of head, clean, clear head.
Atama: Head crown.
Ato: Late-appearing (i.e. referring to sumi; ato sumi).


Bekko: Mat white,red or yellow koi with black markings.
Beni: Describes deep solid red.
Beni Kujaku: An orange-red Kujaku with red markings all over the body.
Benigoi: A non metallic red koi, resembling Akamuji but with a deeper red colouration.
Beret Hi: Asymmetrical head hi on one side only.
Beta-gin: Probably the finest type of Kinginrin, where the whole surface of each scale sparkles.
Bire: 'Fire', a name used for the specific red patterning on Asagi and Shusui.
Boke: Undeveloped Showa sumi.
Boke Showa: A popular form of Showa, with blurred, greyish sumi.
Bongiri: The head hi does not come far enough towards the nose.
Bozu: No hi on the head, bald head.
Bu: Size division.
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.


Cha: Brown.
Chagoi: A non metallic light brown koi.
Chigyo: Unsorted fry.
Chupa: Medium quality fish.


Dagoi: Poor quality fish.
Dainichi: Famous Go-Sanke lineage of koi.
Dangara: A stepped pattern on the body of a koi, also known as Danmoyo.
Danmoyo: Step pattern.
Doitsu: A koi with scales along the dorsal and lateral lines only.
Doitsu Kujaku: A platinum koi with red markings over its body and black markings in the scales along the dorsal and lateral lines only.
Doware: Large white area of a pattern.


Flowery Kohaku: many, small areas of hi. No recognizable step pattern.
Fucarin: The area of skin around the smaller scales of good metallic koi. The smaller the scales, the greater the lustre.
Fuji: The almost metallic finish on the head of some young non metallic koi.
Fukurin: Mesh pattern or reticulated effect (vignette) involving scales and skin.


Gaku Hi: Red on upper part of face (forehead).
Giku: Relates to the swimming mode of a koi with a deformed body.
Gin Bekko: Basically a metallic Shiro Bekko.
Gin Kabuto: A black koi whose scales have silver edges. Now rejected as a poor Ogon.
Gin Matsuba: A metallic silver koi with a black 'pine cone' (matsuba) pattern in the scales.
Gin Shiro: A metallic Shiro Utsuri.
Gin Showa: A metallic Showa with a silver lustre.
Ginbo: A black koi with a silver metallic sheen. Now considered valueless.
Ginrin: The more commonly used term for Kinginrin, referring to sparkling scale types.
Ginsui: A metallic Shusui with a silver lustre.
Go bu: Size five.
Godan Kohaku: A white koi with a five step hi pattern.
Godan: Five step pattern.
Goi: Fish.
Goma: 'Sesame' or scattered sumi.
Goshiki: A five coloured koi,on which white, red, black, and light and dark blue are mixed to give a purplish appearance. Scale reticulation on the red and white,or on the white only.
Goshiki Shusui: A Doitsu, non metallic blue Goshiki.
Gotenzakura: Cherry pattern.
Gotenzakura Kohaku: A cherry blossom patterned Kohaku.


Hachi (atama): Head.
Hachi Hi: An early ancestor of the modern Kohaku.
Hachiware: Lightning stripe head pattern.
Hachizumi: A black pattern that runs diagonally across the head.
Hada: Sheen.
Hageru: No blurring on the head (relates to metallic varieties particularly).
Hageshiro: A black koi with white on the head and on the tail and pectoral fin tips.
Hajiro: A black koi with white on the tail and pectoral fin tips.
Haka Shita: Sagging abdomen.
Hanatsuki: Head hi extends down the nose.
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: Koi with two colours, one of which is platinum, the other metallic orange or yellow, double metallic cross breeding.
Hariwake Matsuba: A silver and yellow metallic koi with a black pattern in each of its scales.
Heisei Period: Contemporary Japanese era.
Heisei Nishiki: A Doitsu Yamato Nishiki..*not recognized yet as an established variety*.
Hi: General term for red.
Hiagari: Intensity of the red colour.
Hiban: Red pattern element or red area.
Hi Asagi: An Asagi whose red marking extends over the lateral line.
Hi Showa: A predominantly red Showa.
Hi Shusui: A shusui whose red pattern spreads up from the belly and covers the back.
Hi Botan: A koi resembling Bekko, derived from Utsuri lineage.
Higoi: Red koi, usually called Akamuji (light red) or Benigoi (deep red).
Hikari: Metallic.
Hikari Utsurimono: Metallic Utsuri and Showa.
Hikarimono: Shining ones, the metallic groups.
Hikarimoyo: Multicoloured 'white-based' metallic koi.
Hikari-moyomono: A classification including all metallic koi with two or more colours, except metallic Utsuri and Showa.
Hikarimuji: Single-coloured metallic koi, with or without scale reticulation.
Himozumi: String-like, thin sumi pattern.
Hinomaru: Sun rising.
Hirenaga koi: Long-finned or butterfly koi,(not accepted as a koi variety in Japan).
Hiroshima Kinginrin: Kin Gin Rin as 'cracked glass' or diamond gin rin. Scales have bright lines running across them.
Hoaka: Hi over the gill plate.
Hon sumi: Lierally, 'genuine sumi', 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.


Ichi bu: Size one.
Ichimatsumoyo: Chequered pattern.
Inazuma: Lighting-stripe pattern (zig-zag).
Ippon hi: Straight hi, renzokumoyo, continuous from head to tail.
Iro: Colour.
Iroagari: The degree of colour intensity.
Iroage: The act of intensifying the various colours.
Iromono: The collective name for all metallic koi.


Jari: Gravel.
Jarisumi: Small black sumi spots.
Jihada: Texture of the koi's skin.
Jinbei: Sanke line of koi.
Juji: Cross shape.
Junidaira Showa: Very old Showa line.


Kabuto: Helmet i.e. Kin or Gin Kabuto, the metallic sheen on the head of a black koi.
Kado: Edge.
Kado Gin: A form of Kinginrin where only the edges of the scales are iridescent.
Kagamigoi: Mirror carp.
Kage: Literally, 'shadow' or 'phantom', referring to koi with a blurred, reticulated black pattern over the white or red.
Kage Hi Utsuri: A koi whose red and black utsuri pattern is complemented by a kage pattern over the red.
Kage Shiro Utsuri: A koi with basic black and white utsuri pattern and kage pattern over the white.
Kage Showa: A koi with the basic showa pattern and kage pattern over the white.
Kanoko: Literally, 'fawn', referring to the dappled hi, appearing on single scales.
Kanoko Kohaku: A Kohaku with dappled hi markings.
Kanoko Sanke: A Sanke with dappled hi markings.
Kanoko Showa: A Showa with dappled hi markings.
Kao: 'Face'; any area between the cheeks (also known as 'men').
Karasu: Crow, black (overall colour).
Karasugoi: Crow koi, black koi from the Asagi line, with white or orange bellies.
Kasane sumi: Sumi that appears on the hi, opposed to tsubo sumi, which appears on the white skin.
Katamoyo: A pattern on only one side of the body.
Kawagoi: Leather carp.
Kawari: Something strage.
Kawarigoi: Strange koi.
Kawarimono: A classification of all non metallic koi not included in any other group.
Ki: Yellow.
Ki Bekko: A yellow koi with black markings.
Kigoi: A yellow koi; often with red eyes (albino line).
Ki Kokuryu: Metallic Kumonryu.
Ki Matsuba: A yellow koi with black 'pine cone' markings in the centre of the scales.
Ki Shusui: A yellow Shusui with greenish dorsal. A very rare variety.
Ki Utsuri: A black koi with yellow markings.
Kikusui: 'Chrysanthemum water'; a metallic doitsu Hariwake Ogon with the pattern running between the scale lines.
Kin: Metallic gold.
Kindai: Modern.
Kin Gin Rin: Koi with rows of very shiny scales along the back and sides.
Kin Hi Utsuri: A metallic Hi Utsuri.
Kin Kabuto: A black koi whose scales have gold edges. Now considered valueless.
Kin Ki Kokuryu: A metallic equivalent of the Beni Kumonryu tends to have both gold and silver patterns on a black base.
Kin Ki Utsuri: A metallic Ki Utsuri.
Kin Showa: A metallic Showa with a gold lustre.
Kin Fuji: See Platinum Kohaku.
Kinbo: A black koi with gold metallic sheen. Now considered valueless.
Kindai Showa: A Showa with a predominantly white pattern.
Kinitsusei: Uniformity of colour.
Kinporai: A bronze metallic Matsuba Ogon.
Kinsui: A metallic Shusui with a gold lustre, more hi (see Ginsui).
Kinzakura: Golden cherries i.e. gold bordered hi, A metallic Goten-zakura.
Kirekomi: Narrow white inserts into the hi rising from the sides of the koi.
Kitchinai: Sanke line of koi.
Kiwa: Trailing edge of pattern elements, the definition between hi and white markings.
Kobayashi: Original contemporary Showa line.
Koborehi: Scattered red.
Koboresumi: Scattered black.
Kohaku: White koi with red patterns.
Koi: Abbreviated name for 'inishikigoi'; brocaded or jewelled carp.
Koke: Scale.
Kokenami: Line of scales.
Kokesuki: Uneven colour within the pattern i.e. single colourless scales.
Komoyo: Small hi markings.
Konjo: Very dark indigo/purple-blue.
Konjo Asagi: A dark blue fish. An early ancestor of the modern Asagi.
Koromo: Literally 'robed', referring to a group of koi whose hi pattern is outlined in a darker colour.
Koromo Sanke: A koi with the koromo reticulated pattern over the hi marking, and the sumi markings of a traditional Sanke.
Koromo Showa: A koi with the markings of a Showa overlaid with the koromo pattern.
Koromozumi: Sumi Goromo netted sumi.
Koshi-nishiki: The result of a cross between an Ogon and a Sanke. Now known as a Yamatonishiki.
Kozumi: Small black spots ( but giving a tidy atmosphere).
Kuchi: Lips in general term.
Kuchibeni: Red lipstick-like markings, hi on lips.
Kujaku: A platinum koi with hi markings covering a large proportion of the body and with matsuba patterning in the scales.
Kujaku Ogon: Another name for kujaku.
Kumonryu: Literally,'dragon fish'. A doitsu black koi with white markings in the scales on its head, fins and body.
Kumoru: Loss of colour brightness and gloss.
Kuragake: Wearing a saddle: a pattern that crosses the back like a saddle on a horse.
Kuro: Black.
Kuro Ki Han: The original name for Shiro Utsuri.
Kutsubera: Shoehorn pattern on the head.


Linages: Genetic lines.


Mado: A 'window' in a red pattern element involving more than one or two scales.
Madoaki: Scales with 'shadows' under the skin.
Magoi: A black mud carp, originally wild, an early ancestor of modern nishikigoi.
Makiagari: The pattern extending from the abdomen to the upper area.
Makibara: A red pattern that wraps around the body.
Makikomi: The pattern extends from the upper area to the abdomen.
Manzo: Kohaku line of koi.
Maruten: A Kohaku with a separate red marking on the head, also used to describe such a head marking.
Maruten Kohaku: A kohaku with a separate red marking on the head and additional red on the body.
Maruten Sanke: A Sanke with a separate red marking on the head and additional red on the body.
Maruzome: 'Round-dyed', scalloped kiwa. The pattern follows the scale edges.
Matsuba: Single coloured koi (metallic or non metallic) with scale reticulation, also known as 'pine cone' pattern.
Matsuba Ogon: Another name for a Kin Matsuba.
Matsukawabake: A non metallic black and white koi whose pattern changes with the time of year and water temperature, although periods may be longer.
Matsunosuke: A line of koi famous particularly for Sanke.
Men: 'Face'; also see kao.
Meija era: A period in Japanese history 1868-1912.
Menkaburi: Red covering the entire face/head.
Menware: The traditional Showa head pattern, (lightning stripe pattern) where the black divides the red marking on the head.
Midori: Green.
Midorigoi: A green doitsu koi with black or silvery scales, a very rare koi.
Mizu: Water.
Mizu Asagi: A very light coloured koi.
Mono: Single.
Moto: Or 'original sumi', i.e. black markings that are apparent in fry and remain visible on the adult koi.
Motoaka: Red pectoral fin joints,'basic red'.
Motoguro: Black fin joints.
Moyo no kire: Sharpness of e\dge of the colour pattern.
Moyo: More than one (colour).
Mudagoke: Redundant scale i.e. one out of line on a doitsu koi.
Muji: Single ( self coloured).
Mura: A state in which colour is lacking uniformity.
Murasakigoi: A purple/lavender coloured koi.


Nabe sumi: 'Soft' grey/brown sumi from the original Tetsu Magoi line; sensitive to light and water temperature; considered unstable.
Nagaremoyo: Streaming hi pattern.
Namikin: Tail fin.
Namitate: Dorsal fin.
Narumi Asagi: The typical light blue patterned Asagi, colour of traditionally blue dyed cotton cloth.
Nesai: Over one year, and up to two years old.
Nezu: Grey.
Nezu Ogon: A silver grey koi with a dull metallic lustre.
Nezumi: Grey.
Nibani: Secondary hi, which appears and disappears depending on such factors as water condition and temperature.
Ni bu: Size two.
Niban: Secondary.
Niban hi: Secondary hi, also called Asagi hi.
Nidan hara: Concave abdomen.
Nidan: Two step.
Nidan Kohaku: A Kahaku with a two step hi pattern.
Nishikigoi: 'Jewelled carp', a fancy or coloured koi (from 'nishiki', a beautiful, coloured linen, and 'goi', meaning fish).
Nosezumi: The black pattern overlapping the red pattern.


Ochiba Shigure: 'Autum leaves on water'; a grey koi with a brown pattern.
Odome: Last marking before the tail.
Ogon: 'Golden'; collective name for metallic koi.
Oiya: Koi broodstock.
Ojime: Gap between the last pattern marking and the tail.
Omoyo: Deep-wrapping pattern,( large hi markings).
Orenji: Orange.
Orenji Hariwake: A silver koi with metallic orange markings.
Orenji Ogon: A deep orange metallic koi.
Oyugu hoseki: Living jewels.
Ozuke: The base of the tail.
Ozutsu: body area behind the dorsal fin, or caudal peduncle.


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 white metallic koi.


Renzokumoyo: Continuous pattern.
Roku bu: Size six.
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 Ogon: A metallic Kanoko Kohaku.
San bu: Size three.
Sandan: Three step pattern.
Sandan Kohaku: A Kohaku with three hi markings.
Sanke: Literally 'tri colour'. White based koi w-+ith red and black markings.( referred to in early literature as Sanshoku).
Sanke Shusui: A doitsu Sanke whose pattern is underlaid with the blue back of the Shusui.
Sanshoku: See Sanke.
Sarasa: Red spots on back. Pattern of birds, flowers and geometric patterns.
Sashi: Blurring of the leading edge of a pattern element, seen on scaled koi. These underlying black and red markings often stablize when the koi is mature.
Sashikomi: Scales covering the front edge of a the pattern.
Sensuke: Kohaku line of koi.
Shiki bu: Size seven.
Shimi: Very small black speckles or dots, no larger than a single scale.Sometimes spoil the appearance of the white or red markings of koi.
Shintaro: New Go-Sanke line of koi ( Matsunosuke based ).
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: The white area.
Shiromuji: A white non metallic koi.
Shitsu: Quality or nature 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.
Soragoi: A grey-blue, non metallic koi.
Sui: Water.
Sumi: Black markings.
Sumi-goromo: An Ai-goromo whose koromo pattern is overlaid with solid markings.
Suminagashi: A black koi with scale reticulation in white.


Taikei: Conformation of the body.
Taisho era: A period in Japenese history, 1912-1926.
Taisho Sanke: The full name of Sanke,which are 'white based' koi with red and black patterns.
Taki: Waterfall.
Taki Sanke: An Asagi whose blue body colour is divided from the red markings on its sides by a white line.
Tama-gin: See pearl Ginrin.
Tancho: Koi with a single, usually red, marking on its head only.
Tancho Kohaku: A white koi with a red spot on the head.
Tancho Sanke: A Sanke whose only red marking is a head spot.
Tancho Showa: A Showa whose only red marking is a head spot.
Tategoi: Koi possessing potential for the future.
Tebire: Pectoral fin.
Tejima: Sumi stripes in the finnage.
Teri (Tsuya): Gloss or lustre.
Tetsu Magoi: Forerunner of the Showa,Chagoi and Ogon lines.
Tetsu: Iron.
Tezumi: Sumi strips in the finnage.
Tobi hi: Very small hi spots, resembling splashes of paint.
Tomoin: Kohaku line of koi.
Tora Ogon: Metallic Ki Bekko, 'tiger' Ogon.
Torazo: 'Tiger' Sanke line of koi.
Tosai: In its first year, up to one year old.
Tsubaki Sanke: Aka Sanke with a chain of sumi running the entire length of the koi.
Tsuba Sumi: Black pattern over white skin.
Tsubu-gin: See Pearl Ginrin.
Tsuya: Lustre.


Umebachi: Japanese apricot flower shaped marking (i.e. Tancho spot).
Uroko kiwi: Scalloped kiwa, see maruzome.
Urushizumi: Jet black, glossy sumi with a hint of blue ( also known as tsuyazumi).
Utsurimono: 'Reflections' or 'reflecting ones'; two coloured, 'black based' koi, white, red or yellow markings.
Uwappi: Thin hi, no sashi.


Wabi/Sabi: Appearance of depth to the skin of a scaled koi.
Wagoi: Scaled koi.


Yagozen: Kohaku line of koi, developed in the 1950s.
Yamabuki: Literally, a Japonica bush with pale yellow flowers. Bright gold i.e. Yamabuki Ogon.
Yamabuki Hariwake: A silver koi with metallic yellow markings.
Yamabuki Ogon: A yellow-gold Ogon.
Yamato: The result of a cross between a Sanke and a Fuji Ogon.
Yamatonishiki: Metallic Sanke.
Yondan: Four step.
Yogyo: Young fish.
Yon bu: Size four.
Yonsai: Four years old.
Yoroigoi: A koi with large armour scales all over its body.
Yotsushiro: ‘Five whites'. A black koi with white on the tail, pectoral and dorsal fins and on the head.


Zubonhaki: Where the latter half of the body (i.e. tail end) is completely red or black.
Zukinkaburi: An early Kohaku with a red forehead.

Article by H. Watson