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Some people love Doitsu Koi because they look like a cutout picture. Some people hate Doitsu because the scaleless skin looks odd. Either way, Koi in the Doitsu variety are beautiful and unique. They certainly add variety to your pond.  Let’s talk more about the Doitsu variety.

In this article, you will learn:

  • What is the Doitsu variety?
  • History
  • Checklist for Doitsu appreciation
  • Famous breeders of Doitsu varieties

What is the Doitsu variety?

Doitsu are Koi with few or no scales. It is an old, yet new group of varieties in Koi history. The first Doitsu Koi was developed more than 100 years ago, but new versions keep coming from this group because their scaleless characteristic can be crossed with almost any variety, like Ginrin (diamond scales), for example.

Simply put Doitsu doubled the number of Koi varieties; for example, Kohaku and Doitsu Kohaku, Sanke and Doitsu Sanke, etc. Other varieties are Doitsu Showa, Kumonryu, Heisei Nishiki, and many more.

History of Doitsu

Koi are a kind of carp. Carp are food source in many countries. Scaleless carp were originally developed in Germany for ease of cooking. In 1904, the scaleless carp was imported to Japan as a new food source. By the way, because scaleless carp were developed in and imported from Germany, they are called Doitsu. As you may imagine, Doitsu comes from the word “Deutsche”.

Mr. Kichigoro Akiyama came up with the idea to cross the scaleless food carp with Japanese scaled Koi. Can you guess which Japanese scaled variety he crossed with scaleless carp?

Asagi—the scaled parent variety of the first Doitsu koi

Shusui variety (koi on the left from Fukasawa Koi Farm)

The answer is Asagi. In 1908, he successfully crossed them to develop a new variety—Shusui.  

If you compare Asagi and Shusui, you can see the similarities. They both have:

  • blue scales
  • blue ground
  • red markings on the side

It is obvious that Shusui is the Doitsu version of Asagi.

Find a Doitsu Koi to Add to Your Pond

We have many varieties of Doitsu and hope that you will take a moment to find the right one that will be a beautiful addition to your koi pond. At Kodama Koi Farm we have many koi for sale, but we highly recommend you add Doitsu to your pond for their sheer unique beauty and history.

Click the button to see the Doitsu Koi we have available.

Checklist for Doitsu appreciation

To appreciate Doitsu, let’s pay attention to the following:

  1. Scales
  2. Excellence of its original scaled variety

Doitsu Lemon Hariwake from Aokiya Koi Farm

1. Scales

It may sound strange to pay attention to scales when we look at a scaleless Koi. But because Doitsu has less scales, how those scales are laid out affects its total beauty. One irregular scale at a wrong place could ruin the beauty of perfect Koi.

Koi in Doitsu variety group can have scales on the back along the dorsal fin and on the lateral lines of the body. If there are scales, they should line up all the way in consistent size of scales.  

If you think about it, it is such a challenge to have the perfect layout of scales in Doitsu. No matter how perfect everything else is, in Doitsu, one wrong scale can ruin the entire beauty. We call those offending scales “Muda goke”. Therefore, nowadays, it seems that breeders try to breed Doitsu with as few scales as possible. It is easier to breed Koi with less scales than to breed them with perfect scale layout.

2. Excellence as its original scaled variety  

After examining the quality of the Doitsu scalations, we now go back to the basics of each variety. For example, if it were Doitsu Kohaku, after checking the Doitsu quality, you need to see the Koi as regular scaled Kohaku and check the quality of Hi and Shiroji and the balance of the two colors.

Any Doitsu is a scaleless version of a scaled Koi. So it is critical to appreciate the original scaled variety. This means you may need a little more knowledge and experience to fully appreciate Doitsu varieties.

As I said before, Doitsu are old; but new varieties. You will see many new and interesting examples.

I remember almost 25 years ago when I first started working for my father. It was about the time when Heisei Nisihki came out and gained a lot of popularity. Heisei Nishiki is a Doitsu version of Yamato Nishiki. Yamato Nishiki is metallic version of scaled Sanke. In other words, Heisei Nishiki is Doitsu Metallic Sanke.

For some reason, I never liked Yamato Nishiki maybe because their Sumi were always weak on the metallic body. But as soon as I saw Heisei Nishiki, I could not believe how beautiful a Koi can be simply by turning the scaled skin into leather skin. The shine of the body went very well with the three colors of Sanke.

Doitsu Metallic Ochibashigure from Koshiji Koi Farm

A couple of the latest Doitsu varieties are Doitsu Goshiki and Doitsu Metallic Ochibashigure. These varieties are still in development, and a good one may be hard to come by. But if you encounter one, you might want to get it.

Famous breeders of Doitsu

It is hard to recommend specific Koi breeders for Doitsu because they can be in any variety and the cost of production is as much as scaled Koi; but here are some suggestions:

  • Koshiji Koi Farm is a good place to start. You can always find good selections of Doitsu there. Mr. Koshiji is also the one who developed Doitsu Goshiki and Doitsu metallic Ochibashigure, and he is always coming up with new varieties.
  • Aokiya Koi Farm is a must-see breeder if you are a Doitsu freak. His Lemon Hariwake and other Doitsu are simply breathtaking.
  • Marusaka Koi Farm in Niigata always carries a wide range of Doitsu for very reasonable prices.
  • Hiroi Koi Farm and Shinoda Koi Farm breed outstanding masterpieces of Doitsu Showa.