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"The Birth Of A Bloodline: The Kamiya Kohaku Saga"
By Joel Burkard/Pan Intercorp

It is rare indeed that a single Koi creates as much excitement as this one has. In January of 1998, this incredible Kohaku belonging to the then Chairman of the ZNA, Ryushi Kamiya, captivated the koi world by taking the most coveted prize of all koi shows, Grand Champion of the All Japan Show.

This powerfully built Kohaku was bred by Murata Nishikigoi Center in Chiba using a Sensuke bloodline female (originating from the Iizuka Sensuke in Shimane prefecture), and a Dainichi bloodline male. She was sold out of a batch of two year old tategoi to a Niigata dealer who saw something in her as a two year old that set her apart from her sisters.

Kamiya Kohaku as Grand Champion of the 30th All Japan Show. Kamiya Kohaku from different angles.

In January of 2000 the now world famous "Kamiya Kohaku" was offered for sale by the Kamiya estate and was purchased by Robert Goh of Malaysia. Her new owner became intrigued with her bloodlines, and with the possibility of establishing a new branch of the Sensuke bloodline using the Kamiya Kohaku as it's source.

Realizing that such a dream would be impossible to achieve without the professional assistance and direction , Mr. Goh discussed his "wild scheme" with local Malaysian Koi dealer, Zen Koi, who in turn contacted Toshiya Amemiya of Suien in Japan. The concept took it's quantum leap from dream to reality, and a partnership was formed to create the Kamiya Kohaku bloodline.

Mr. Kamiya with the Grand Champion trophy at the 30th All Japan Show. Mr. Amemiya - lead breeder for the Kamiya bloodline.

Toshiya Amemiya is a second generation koi breeder who had taken a hiatus from koi breeding to focus on other aspects of the family aqua culture business, but the Kamiya Kohaku project immediately became his only focus.

Studying the inherent characteristics of the Kamiya Kohaku, Amemiya noticed that her red, white, her bone structure and the pronounced hump at her shoulders were all traits that were strikingly uncharacteristic of the Sensuke bloodline. Her size, at over 35 inches, was undoubtedly her most impressive feature considering the fact that she had been allowed to grow naturally, without the stimulus of winter growing in a greenhouse.

Researching her past and following up on her sisters, Amemiya found that the un-Sensuke-like Kamiya Kohaku bore little resemblance to her siblings and that the traits that made her so attractive were truly unique to her. He soon came to the conclusion that the Kamiya Kohaku either received her dominant traits from her father, or that there may have been other influences in the Murata breeding that were not public knowledge.

Amemiya began the serious task of selecting an appropriate male that would bring the other half of the gene pool to the project. After discussing his options with a number of other koi breeders, Amemiya became convinced that he needed to reincorporate a strong infusion of Sensuke blood into the bloodline.

Not long after making this determination, Amemiya was visiting the Omosako Fish Farm in Hiroshima where he encountered an exciting discovery, a male kohaku, at this farm that normally was home to only Shiro Utsuri. When queried about the origins of the kohaku, Mr. Omosako explained that it was a Takigawa Sensuke, the origins of which came from the tremendous Donguri* line from Sakai of Hiroshima.

The male purchased at Omosako Fish Farms for use in spawning. The first breeding of the Kamiya bloodline.

Donguri was the name of a Morita Sensuke that formed the basis for the incredible Sakai kohaku that have come to dominate the larger size divisions at koi shows in Japan over the past few years. Convinced that his encounter with the Takigawa Sensuke was an meeting with destiny, Amemiya purchased the koi to use as the lead male breeder.

Because of her immense size, Amemiya realized that he would need a lot of helping hands if he intended to spawn the Kamiya Kohaku artificially. To that end, he enlisted the assistance of the Sakuma brothers, Futoshi Maruyama and Yuji Inoue, all world famous breeders in their own right.

Again because of her large size, there was a real concern as to whether a single male koi would be adequate to fertilize the large amount of eggs that was anticipated. To cover this contingency, two "Chaser" males were added to the recipe, a Sakuma kohaku that was line bred from Dainichi's Kamenoko*, and a Maruyama Kohaku that could be traced to Dainichi's Panda*.

Early in the summer of 2000, Amemiya headed the team of five breeders in a successful artificial spawning of the Grand Champion of the 30th All Japan Show, the Kamiya Kohaku. Forty four days later, Amemiya waited with baited breath as he hauled the nets in for the first culling of the Kamiya Kohaku. Much to his excitement, the initial results were even better than he dared expect. The patterning was far superior than usual and the fry already showed signs of the targeted Sensuke bone structure, but they still had a long way to go before he could breath easily.

Kamiya fry after only a few weeks. You can already see great patterns. Mr. Amemiya carefully selects the Koi he will grow over the winter.

I was late September when I called Mr. Amemiya for the latest update on the Kamiya Kohaku babies. Mr. Amemiya reported that he had finished the fall harvest and that he has a number of Kamiya Kohaku that met with and surpassed his expectations. His next task is to move them into the greenhouses so that their color can improve and their immune system can be stimulated prior to sale.

Amemiya hopes to they will be ready to travel by February of 2001. In any case, he assures us that they will be made available to the public by spring 2001, and that accompanying each Kamiya Kohaku will be a Certificate of Authenticity issued by Suien and authorized by Toshiya Amemiya.

Just think, a chance to own the offspring of the Grand Champion of the 30th All Japan Koi Show, the Greatest Show on Earth..I can hardly wait!

*Donguri, *Kamenoko, and *Panda are all names of individual kohaku that have played an important part in the development of the ever larger "Jumbo" koi that have been the trend in recent years.


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