Takahashi Koi Farm breeds various kinds such as Showa, Taisho Sanke, Kohaku, Asagi, Hikarimono etc. The main breed is Showa. He breeds 80,000-100,000 every year, and its 50% is Showa. The reason lies in nothing but its clay quality of the area. Takahashi Koi Farm is located at Kita Uonuma county of Niigata. Kita Uonuma county has a very suitable clay for Showa breeding. While that of Yamakoshi area in Ojiya is clayey, that of Kita Uonuma country contains sands in it. Because of the clay quality, Mr. Takahashi breeds mainly Showa. In addition, Uonuma county used to have many silk factories, Koi breeding industry that uses many silkworm pupae from the factories developed. He breeds 40,000 + Showa out of 10 pairs every year and sells all over the country. His Koi is popular especially among Japanese dealers who wins many good awards at Koi shows.
Interview with Takahashi Koi Farm
Article from Sep/Oct 2005
Takahashi Koi Farm
Challenges to the Mass Production of Showa
Founder of Takahashi Koi Farm: Mr. and Mrs. Takahashi
There are 53 koi breeders in the Uonuma area of Niigata. Mr. Hanjyuro Takahashi is the chief of the association. Being a member of the city assembly at the same time, he leads the Uonuma koi industry. Although he still breeds koi, he leaves all the management of the koi farm to his son, Takehisa. Today I interviewed Mr. Takehisa Takahashi who actually runs Takahashi Koi Farm. Kodama:
Please tell us about the Takahashi Koi Farm. Takahashi:
My father, Hanjyuro, founded the farm in 1985. We breed Showa, Asagi, Shusui, Sanke, Kohaku and Hikarimono. The main variety is Showa. It is because Showa is the most suitable variety for the clay quality in this Uonuma area. In addition, there are many silk yarn factories in this area. As by-products, many silkworm pupae were produced. They were utilized as Koi food and as the result, the Koi breeding industry developed. Right now, I take care of everything on Koi because my father is busy with the public office. Kodama:
What is the policy of the Takahashi Koi Farm?
There was a big Koi pond in from of a big tree of Japanese cypress that has sit since Meiji era (1868 -1912).
My farm is located in Uouma area, which is famous for Showa breeding. So I breed Showa mainly and also Asagi, Goshiki, Shusui, Sanke. I sell them not only inside but also outside of Japan. My policy is to sell all of them including Tategoi (potential Koi) when they are Tosai and 2 years old.
Many breeders in Niigata challenge champions. To win champions, breeders keep and raise Tategoi by themselves without selling them. I am very sure that hobbyist also wants those Tategoi that breeders want to keep by themselves. So I sell them all without separating excellent Tategoi. Of course, I raise about 10 Koi by myself to make sure they grow and shows the beauty to the high standard that I require myself. Kodama:
I see. That must please your customers. Most of the breeders sell their Koi after putting aside their Tategoi. But if you can sell everything including all the tops, that would be very appealing. Kodama:
Can you share with us about the root of the Takahashi Showa? Takahashi:
It goes back to six generations ago (Meiji era). The owner at the time was Taro Takahashi. He got interested in Koi and built the pond in his garden and kept Koi.This Uonuma area is very rich in water. So it was very popular to breed food carp, raibow trout, sweetfish and so on. My father crossed a female Shiro Utsuri with a male Showa that he got from Jirobei in Jyunidaira in 1958.
Mr. Takehisa Takahashi sits in front of the hanging scroll. It has the creed of the Takahashi family, the famous words of Tokugawa Ieyasu who founded the shogunate in Edo that endured for more than 260 years.
What kind of Shiro Utsuri was it? Takahashi:
It was more like a Matsukawabake. The shiroji was very beautiful. The white skin stood out even in a school of koi. Koi born from the parent had wonderful shiroji. Kodama:
I see. Takahashi:
We had used the parents as the main pair for a while. But around 1970, Kansuke who is famous for Kohaku had bred Showa with the parent from Kobayashi Showa bloodline. He bred them only for 2 years. But the quality was very excellent. So we obtained the grown Kansuke Showa as a parent. We crossed it with Dainichi Showa to breed the current parent stock of our farm. Kodama:
Your Showa must have the strong blood of the Kobayashi Showa, mustn't it? Takahashi:
Kobayashi Showa is characterized with the dynamic Sumi. I added “Dainichi Showa” whose line is characterized with the bright and large growth to the Koi with “strong Sumi quality.” This is how I made my parents Koi. Based on this line, I recently add excellent bloods of Takeda Koi Farm in Hiroshima in order to improve my Koi.
Koi spend winter in this greenhouse.
Because Showa has so many interbreeding, it is important to add such a different bloodline, isn't it. What kind of Showa are you trying to breed? Takahashi:
Breeding good patterned koi is my goal. Kodama:
Do you mean good hi pattern? Takahashi:
Yes. Because sumi appear in shiroji, good hi pattern is the top priority. Breeding a many stepped pattern koi is my first goal.
Kodama culls Koi
Are those patterns influenced by the pattern of the parents? Takahashi:
Of course. Because pattern is a big factor of heredity, which parent to choose makes a big difference in patterns of the offspring. Kodama:
What about the sumi pattern? Takahashi:
Because the sumi pattern comes out later, I first am doing my best to breed good koi with an excellent hi pattern. Kodama:
You just mentioned the introduction of the blood of the Takeda Showa. How did it go? Takahashi:
Fortunately, they have a nice hi pattern and that hi is enhanced brilliantly. The Takeda Showa is a line of the Dainichi Showa. It is one of the top class bloodlines. I am confident in the results.
A part of his mud ponds where he releases 400,000 fry
Please tell us about your production. Takahashi:
Besides Showa, I breed other varieties. But Showa is my main variety, after all. I breed 6 to 7 pairs every year. From those parents, I get millions of eggs. But after culling, I keep only 400,000 fry. Kodama:
It sounds like a large production. Takahashi:
I release them to mud ponds and cull them at least three times by fall. And I harvest 20,000 fry every year. Kodama:
In the picture below, you are releasing fry to the mud ponds. Do you have ponds by variety? Takahashi:
Yes I do. Each pond has a different variety. One pond is suitable for Showa while the other is for Shusui. I would like to breed only Showa. But some of the ponds are not necessarily for Showa. In this case, I breed other varieties and raise them there.
Mr. Takahashi releases fry.
This is why you have many varieties. Takahashi:
That is not the only reason. Though I focus on Showa, buyers who stop by my place for Showa also look for other varieties like Kohaku, Sanke, and Asagi. To meet the needs, I am breeding those other varieties. In short, I breed other varieties to produce the right varieties for the right ponds and also to meet customers' needs. Kodama:
How do you sell them? Takahashi:
About 80% will go abroad. Tosai shows mostly hi pattern only and little sumi. So I think it is exciting for the customers to watch how they develop.
Shipment pond. Before the shipment, Koi are held here separately for the inspection of the health.
It seems that many Takahashi Showa show little sumi even at the age of two. Takahashi:
A lot of times, my koi shows a little sumi, customers buy them based on the hi pattern. But that would rather maximize the fun of customers. It is good to study those points to look at when customers buy Showa.
*The buying tip of Takahashi Showa – Buy them by the Hi pattern. Sumi will develop with the growth.
What about the sale of two-year-olds? Takahashi:
I sell 80% as tosai and 20% as two-year-olds. Kodama:
You sell the two-year-olds in autumn, don't you? Takahashi:
That is correct. I sell tosai from autumn through the following June. I usually have them in the concrete stock ponds. Kodama:
Because this Uonuma area is rich in water and suitable for Showa breeding, I would like you to work on Showa breeding even more. What is the goal of the Takahashi Koi Farm? Takahashi:
Right now, I breed 20,000. I would like to take it to 200,000.
Kodama selects 2 years old
Kodama and Mr. Takahashi checking quality of Koi
Kodama selects 2 years old
Can you tell me about your Ginrin Showa next? Takahashi:
It started about 30 years ago. In 1973, we purchased a white koi with ginrin from Hiroshima. It was male and two years old. Kodama:
Why was it plain white? Takahashi:
Our Showa was characterized with the pure white from the beginning. So when we select parents, "pure white skin" was an important factor. Kodama:
I see. Takahashi:
It was the Kohaku that lost all the hi. But the shiroji was so beautiful and ginrin shined so strong. This is why this koi was selected as a parent koi. Kodama:
What did you cross it with? Takahashi:
It was a Jirobei Showa from Jyunidaira that we owned previously. Beginning with this pair, we developed the parents. Our current parental koi are the fifth generation.
People working to ship Koi at the farm
It has such a long history. Takahashi:
Repetition and accumulation of efforts every year are the secrets of breeding good koi. Koi is not something that appears from nowhere all of a sudden. It takes at least three years to judge if the pair was the right one or not. Kodama:
It is difficult to judge the real value of koi until koi grow up. No matter how beautiful they look when they are tosai and two years old, they could look bad when they become older. We cannot confirm the quality of koi unless they are at least three years old. Kodama:
But you sell all of them as tosai and two years old. Takahashi:
Please do not worry. I raise at least 10 out of each pair to three to five years old to confirm the characteristics. Kodama:
I see. Koi from Takahashi is quality-guaranteed. Takahashi:
I do not issue a warranty, but I am confident in the quality (laugh). Dealers from every area of Japan come to buy my koi and those koi win prizes at local koi shows. Because I sell them all to dealers, my name does not really get exposed. Kodama:
Tell us about the characteristics of your Ginrin Showa. Takahashi:
First of all, the ginrin shines strongly. And the sumi is atozumi. In other words, the sumi develops slowly and gradually with the growth. Of course, the hi quality is good and can be enhanced beautifully. My Ginrin Showa is fun to raise. Kodama:
How many do you breed? Takahashi:
I get 70,000?80,000 fry from two pair of parents and release them to the mud pond. Until fall, I cull them three times and reserve about 3,000 tosai. Kodama:
The Takahashi Ginrin Showa is popular in Japan. Please breed as many as possible so that hobbyists abroad can also enjoy your beautiful Ginrin Showa.
Thank you for your time today.
Tips for Purchasing Takahashi Showa
1. The Takahashi Showa has the strong character of atozumi. So many of his two-year-old Showa have a hi pattern and little sumi pattern. We need to estimate the development of the sumi.
2. The Takahashi Showa is popular because the sumi change is drastic. In other words, when the Showa has less sumi, it is less expensive. The less expensive koi develops its
sumi and turns itself to an excellent koi.
3. Because he produces many, he is not feeding color-enhancing food. Even though the hi is a little weak, it will eventually come up. So please do not worry. (But please, you can feed color-enhancing food.)
4. It is important to watch regularly how the sumi develops because sumi development is the key.
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