Kohaku is without doubt the most sought after and widely recognised variety of Koi. Kohaku should have a pure White background or base skin colour (known as Shiroji), comparable to the colour of fresh snow. The pure White backdrop is then overlaid with splashes of Red (known as Hi). The Hi/Red colour in Kohaku should be rich, akin to the colour used in the Japanese flag. In show winning Kohaku, the Hi/Red colouration should not extend beyond the eyes or lateral line.
When Kohaku have an all-White body and a neat red/Hi circle on the head of the koi (resembling the Japanese flag) this is known as Tancho. Tancho were named after the sacred red crowned crane of Japan, for good fortune, love and long life. Tancho are a beautiful variation of Koi and are loved by many. The mark of a Tancho (simply being a coloured circle on the head of a Koi) can appear on many other varieties (e.g. Tancho Ochiba, Tancho Goshiki etc.) however Kohaku is by far the most popular.
Certain examples of Kohaku may also demonstrate Fukurin which is the pronunciation of the scales, highlighted by the cuticle within the skin. It looks as though a line is drawn around each scale giving the Koi a net-like pattern which can be either subtle or dramatic. Koahku are part of the Gosanke group, which literally translates as ‘three houses’ OR ‘three families’. The Gosanke group includes the koi varieties Kohaku, Sanke and Showa. These extremely well established and stable Koi varieties are considered the best or most important varieties in Koi keeping, and routinely win the All-Japan Koi Show. The most expensive Koi ever sold was a Kohaku winner of the All-Japan Koi Show called ‘S Legend’. During a furious bidding war, this 9-year-old Koi masterpiece was sold for a staggering £1.4M/203 million Yen. Kohaku are truly striking Koi with their intensely beautiful contrasting colouration. As a result, they make a fantastic addition to any Koi pond.