After 18 years with Dainichi Koi Farm, Mr. Hisashi Hirasawa took over his father's farm, Marudo Koi Farm. He is now a leading breeder in Niigata, Japan.
Learn More About Marudo Koi Farm
Owner(s): Hisashi Hirasawa Specialty: Sanke, Kohaku, Ogon, Chagoi, Karashi Description: Training at Dainichi Koi Farm for 18 years, Mr. Hisashi Hirasawa took over his father's farm, Marudo Koi Farm. He is now a leading breeder in Niigata. Being very much familiar with every character of Dainichi bloodline, he developed his Marudo bloodline. His Kohaku and Sanke are now reguler winners at All Japan Koi Show.
Interview with Marudo Koi Farm
Interview on November/December 2002
Marudo Koi Farm
by Mamoru Kodama
Since a Dainichi Showa won Grand Champion in 1991, no other Showa has won this title. It is everybody's keen interest whose koi will be next to win this title of Grand Champion with a Showa.
Among the many breeders, Hisashi Hirasawa is one of the strongest candidates. He learned "Dainichi bloodline and Dainichi-izm." Today, I interviewed Mr. Hisashi Hirasawa at the Marudo Koi Farm.
Where did you learn about koi? Hirasawa:
I lived under the sameroof with Mr. Minoru Mano for 18 years. Kodama:
Really? You trained so many years. Hirasawa:
My father was also a koi breeder, so I was able to study at had been working at Dainichi for 18 years. In 1987, I retired from Dainichi Koi Farm and took over the Marudo Koi Farm. Kodama:
What did you learn at Dainichi Koi Farm? Hirasawa:
Well, I learned the importance of "body conformation." Another thing is to be particular about "hi." Then, there was no such thing as color enhancing food. So, we concentrated on making better hi quality, redder hi, thicker hi. By all means, we were crazy about body conformation and hi. The body conformation is the body line. Unforced and relaxing body conformation was what we were looking for. When koi with good body conformation swims, the posture is breathtakingly beautiful. Every koi hobbyist will feel the beauty beyond description. Nishikigoi also has a beauty as it swims in schools. But we breeders pursue the ideal body conformation in an individual koi. It is ideal when we look at the body conformation and feel good about it. Kodama:
Since you resigned from Dainichi Koi Farm, it has been 15 years. What is your goal? Hirasawa:
In a word, I want to breed koi that can win Grand Champion at All Japan Koi Show. In other words, I would like to breed a "Real Koi." Kodama:
What do you mean by "Real Koi"? Hirasawa:
Real Koi means what many people celebrate. I think there are two criteria for Real Koi to be recognized by many people. First is "a big koi." The second is "a beautiful koi." The beauty means body conformation, quality, and pattern. Every celebrated koi in the past has unforgettable pattern, coloration, and body conformation. I want to breed koi that will remain in everybody’s heart. Kodama:
What do you mean by "big Koi"? Hirasawa:
Directly speaking, the All Japan Koi Show is the place where a koi can be recognized by many people. And I consider winning Grand Champion at that Koi Show proves that the koi gets the recognition. To win the Grand Championship, koi must be big, more than 85 cm (34 in.). Kodama:
I see. That is true. By the way, how is your breeding doing? Hirasawa:
I have 39,600 square meters (9.785 acres) only for Tosai (1-year-old koi.) I breed 40,000 koi there. In April, I have about 5,000,000 fry hatch and of that 1,500,000 are Showa. As soon as they hatch, I cull them to leave 300,000 to 400,000. Out of them, I strictly select 5,000 Showa fry. Kodama:
5,000 Showa out of 1,500,000!? You select only 1 out of 300 to raise. Are the parents Dainichi line? Hirasawa:
I use a female from Dainichi. I want to breed a large koi. So I use the line that has a large body out of Dainichi Showa lines. As for a male Showa, I use the Marudo Showa that my father left. I sometimes use other bloodlines, too. Dainichi Showa
is the base of my Showa. Kodama:
In 1991, since Mr. Masao Kato won Grand Champion with a Dainichi Showa, no other Showa has won the title. I would definitely like you to win this time with your Showa. Hirasawa:
The Kato Showa is a very memorable Showa. I was still working at Dainichi Koi Farm and bred it with my teacher. Since that koi, no Showa has won the Grand Champion for 12 years. I really want to breed a better Showa than my teacher and win the Grand Champion. Kodama:
Now, would you talk about your Marudo Koi Farm in more detail? How big is your farm?
In total, my farm is about 118,800 to 128,700 square meters (29 to 32 acres). Kodama:
It is a huge area, isn’t it?! What do you breed there? Hirasawa:
I mainly breed Showa, Sanke, and Kohaku. Every year, I have 100,000 tosai (one year old), 1,500 of two-year olds, 150 of three-year olds, and 50 to 70 of four-year olds. Kodama:
That is a wonderful production. "Marudo" is a very popular brand in Japan. Now please let us know more about your Showa. Hirasawa:
Since my father’s generation, we have bred Showa. It was 15 years ago when I got a Showa from Dainichi and put real effort in the breeding. From then on, I tried to cross a Takeda Showa, a Sakai Showa, and so forth, with a female Dainichi Showa to improve my Showa. Kodama:
Do you think Dainichi line is the best as parents? Hirasawa:
I believe so not because I was at Dainichi Koi Farm, but when I look at the koi industry, I still conclude that the Dainichi line is the best bloodline as parents. Especially because I spent 18 years with Mr. Minoru Mano under the same roof, I am very familiar with "good parents" out of a Dainichi Showa. Kodama:
We can almost say that a Marudo Showa is a Dainichi Showa itself. Hirasawa:
I would like to take over the last master’s will and preserve the Dainichi bloodline. Kodama:
What is your goal in Showa breeding? Hirasawa:
Specifically speaking, to re-create the Kato Showa that won Grand Champion in 1991 is my goal. The Kato Showa is one of my benchmarks. Kodama:
Please explain it exactly, which part of the Kato Showa you want to achieve? Hirasawa:
It is the beauty. A Showa can win Grand Championships with its powerful looks at local koi shows. But when it comes to the All Japan Koi Show, a Showa must have competitive beauty against Kohakus and Taisho Sankes to win Grand Champion. First, it must be more than 85 cm (34 in). Then the hi, sumi, and shiroji (white ground) combine to become a pattern. The pattern must hold its "impressive beauty" to everyone who views it. A large Showa is unlikely to finish its sumi. In this sense, the Kato Showa had its hi and sumi finished beautifully on the white ground. The koi had a very competitive beauty against a Kohaku and Sanke. My goal is still to achieve the beauty of the Kato Showa. I want to breed bright and large Showa at least more than 85 cm (34 in.). Recently, a koi over 1 meter (40 in.) won Grand Champion. So it must be more than 90 cm (36 in.) in the future. Anyway, Showa needs not only to be powerful but also beautiful. That is what I want to breed. Kodama:
I agree with you. To win Grand Champion, the large size is not enough. The koi still needs the beautiful look. Hirasawa:
At class 15 (to 15 cm), 20 (from 15 to 20 cm) and 25 (from 20 to 25 cm), there are very beautiful Showa. But at class 80 (from 75 to 80 cm) or over 80 (over 80 cm), very few Showa are as beautiful as Kohaku and Sanke. One of my Showa won Best in Variety at the 34th ZNA All Japan Koi Show in Tokushima. The Showa is a very bright koi. On the large hi pattern, sumi is well designed. I would like to breed a good pattern koi in this fashion. This Showa is also from the Dainichi line. If I could breed a good patterned koi with these parents, I think it can win Grand Champion. Anyway, I would like to breed a "bright, lustrous, and beautiful koi." Kodama:
I am looking forward to the day when Marudo Showa wins Grand Champion.
Thank you for your time today.
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