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"The Evolution from Tategoi to Show Koi"
By Joel Burkard/Pan Intercorp

The name "tategoi" is a term that is used to describe a koi that has yet to reach its full potential, a koi that is not yet "finished".

It is relatively easy for most hobbyists to select or evaluate a "finished" koi that is in its prime, but the real challenge in koi keeping, and the true test of a koi keeper's skill, is in selecting and successfully finishing a tategoi. In this series, we hope to shed some light the on mystery of koi development.

This showa sanshoku is owned by Osamu Matsuda of Saitama, Japan and an excellent example of a koi that developed rapidly into championship form.



6 months old, 6.25 inches
November 1992



9 months old, 8 inches
January 1993



12 months old, 10.25 inches
April 1993



18 months old, 16 inches
November 1993


The first photo was taken in November of 1992 at the time of purchase. Its size was 16cm (6.25 inches) and it was 6 months old. Note that there is no black in the pectoral fins at all.

The second photo was taken three months later in January of 1993. Here we can see that the sumi (black) has started to assert itself throughout the body and pectoral fins. It has grown to 20cm (8 inches).

In April of 1993 at 26cm (10.25 inches), Mr. Matsuda's showa took first place 30bu Showa in a regional koi show. By this time the sumi had completely filled the pectoral fins, a condition that is sometimes considered a major drawback by some hobbyists.

Our last photo was taken in November of 1993 at the 24th All Japan Rinukai Show where this showa took first place 45bu. Note that by this time, though far from being finished, the sumi has receded on the pectoral fins in the classic "moto guro" fashion.

In the twelve short months that elapsed between the first and last photos, this koi has grown from 6 inches to over 16 inches, taken first place in two very competitive shows, and continues to show great promise as a tategoi.