Sanke (also known as Taisho Sanke) are a variety of Koi Carp which have a pure White background or base skin colour (known as Shiroji), comparable to the colour of fresh snow. The White base coat colouring of a Sanke should be free of any blemishes or discolouration. Much like a Kohaku, the White basecoat is overlaid with splashes of Red (knows as Hi). The Hi/Red may vary from a deep orange to a rich primary red, of which the latter is preferable.
The difference between a Kohaku and a Sanke is in the addition of black (also known as Sumi). The Sumi/Black markings should be evenly distributed as small patches along the body of the Koi and should resemble ink blotches, solid in colour with clearly defined edges. Much like a Kohaku, the markings present on a Sanke (in this case Hi/Red and Sumi/Black) should not extend beyond the eyes or lateral line.
Sanke Koi Carp were first observed at the Tokyo Koi Exhibition in 1914, brought by the renowned Koi breeder Gonzo Hiroi. Another breeder, Torakichi Kawikame was responsible for stabilising the varieties bloodline, by selectively breeding the original Sanke with a Kohaku.
The Sanke is a member of the Koi classification, Gosanke. 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 contrast between Red, White, and Black make the Sanke a charming variety of Koi, and a welcome addition to any pond.