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"The Growth of a Champion"
By Joel Burkard/Pan Intercorp

Among the most dramatic changes that one can see in the development of a young Tategoi, is the change that occurs in the sumi (black). The sumi in Showa is especially interesting, making its presence known in the first few days of life.

Both the Kin Showa and the Showa featured here are owned by Mr. Katsuhiko Tashiro of Tokyo and were purchased through Nishikigoi Yoshida, also in Tokyo.

The Kin Showa was bred by Marukin Yorijyo of Niigata and was seven months old and six inches long in the first photo. The sumi is indistinct, lacking definition and boundary, although the luster of the ogon at the head and tail speak of dreams for the future.

At two and a half years old and just under 12 inches, the second photo shows Mr. Tashiro's Kinshowa as Champion 30bu Hikari Utsurimono at the All Kanto Show. Note how the sumi has receded to classic "moto-guro" in the pectoral fins, disappeared entirely from the head and confined itself beautifully to two areas on the body.

Kin Showa 7 months old, 6 inches Kin Showa 2 1/2 years old, 12 inches Kin Showa 3 years old, 16 inches

At a full three years old and sixteen inches long, the sumi has become fully established, and as is apt to happen with Kin Showa, the luster and sheen of the ogon have begun to diminish making the koi look more like a regular Showa.

This world class Showa bred by Ido Fish Farm in Yamanashi, was four months old and just four inches long when purchased by Mr. Tashiro. The four step kohaku pattern of the red is evident in the first photo, but many hobbyists might have been skeptic regarding the viability of either the black or the white.

At 10 inches just one year later, the change that has come over this Showa is astounding to say the least. The sumi has clearly become firmly established, even to the point where it is beginning to hint at over running the head and pectoral fins. The white has cleared up immensely making a perfect back-drop for the beni (red) which speaks for itself.

Showa 4 months old, 4 inches Showa 1 year later, 10 inches Showa 2 years, 3 months old, 19 inches

The final photo shows Mr. Tashiro's Showa at 2 years and 3 months old, 19 inches in length. She has begun to put on some girth and the sumi has receded where it once threatened to get out of hand.

Many hobbyists hesitate to purchase a koi that shows red in the pectoral fin, fearing it might hurt their prospects for showing the koi. As you can clearly see here, a small amount of red in the pectoral fin has a tendency to draw back towards the body as the fish matures. This is also the case with Kohaku and Sanke.

Mr. Tashiro's Showa, already stunning by any measure, is an excellent example of the potential of certain bloodline Showa. This is one to watch as we can be certain we will see this koi in the winner's circle at some time in the future.

Tategoi...the stuff that dreams are made of.


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