Welcome to another blog in our ‘Koi Varieties’ series where today we will be looking at something a bit different. This blog is all about the Golden Corn which is a very new and interesting variety from breeder Taniguchi.
As the name suggests, Golden Corn koi bear a striking resemblance to a corn on the cob! There are a few different versions of the Golden Corn but the most well-known version has a bright yellow base colour with red reticulation on the scales as well as a Gin Rin sparkle across the whole body. The best Golden Corn also have a red speckled pattern, called kanoko (KAN-oh-KOH), which adds emphasis to the red-coloured reticulation. The other two variations both have a grey-white base colour. One has a bright red-orange kanoko and reticulation patterns like the first variation and the other has the same pattern but with a yellow colouration to the kanoko and reticulation.
Here you can see the three types of Golden Corn koi (credit to Taniguchi Koi Farm):
Golden Corn koi first became known to the general koi world during the 2020 All Japan Koi Show where a Golden Corn bred by Mr. Youichi Taniguchi from Taniguchi Koi Farm was entered (see photo at the top of the page). The koi was very large and impressive so there was little surprise when the koi won its category, the Kawarimono koi (competition group for non-metallic koi that do not fit into any other category). Over the course of the weekend, many koi breeders and keepers got to see this exciting new koi and the variety was so impressive that it instantly shot into the public eye and before long, most koi enthusiasts in Japan had heard of the variety. Altogether, the show led to a perfect introduction of the new variety!
Selection of Nisai Golden Corn koi from breeder Taniguchi
History and Development of Golden Corn
In order to produce a new koi of good quality, a breeder will need to go through a number of generations of koi, firstly to produce the pattern and colouration they are aiming for and then to improve the quality until the variety is good enough for koi shows. Showing a koi at one of the big Japanese shows is the best way to get a new variety into the koi world and recognised enough for people to want to buy any future koi of the variety. This means that when creating a new variety, a breeder will want to use koi that will have a great shape and grow quickly so the variety can be developed to show quality in as little time as possible. Because of this, when creating the Golden Corn variety roughly 12 years ago, Mr Taniguchi started with one of his most prized koi, a very large Chagoi female measuring over 1m in length. This was a fantastic koi for any breeder and was a parent to many Chagoi, Ochiba, Karashigoi and other Chagoi cross varieties. Her fantastic size meant that all her offspring were considered Jumbo koi and grew to breeding age very quickly.
Once Mr Taniguchi had decided on his starting koi, he then had to choose a male to pair her with. A Gin Rin Asagi was chosen as this would introduce the Hi colouration, the Gin Rin sparkle, and the fukurin reticulation pattern, all desired aspects of the Golden Corn. From this pairing, a Gin Rin female koi was produced. This koi is described as being Soragoi-like because it had the colour of a Soragoi and looked like a Soragoi except it had a small amount of hi-coloured kanoko pattern which made it different to any existing koi variety but was a great start to the Golden Corn variety.
In order to increase the amount of the hi kanoko pattern, this female was bred to another Asagi male, this one without any Gin Rin pattern. The intention was to use the hi colouration of the Asagi to enhance and increase the hi kanoko pattern of these pre-Golden Corn koi without overpowering the base colouration and without losing the fukurin reticulation. Fortunately, this pairing proved to be successful and there was one particular offspring koi that Mr Taniguchi was very excited about. He described this female koi as a Gin Rin Asagi-like koi because, while the colouration of the koi was very similar to that of an Asagi, the hi colouration that you would typically only see on the belly and sides had spread around the body and was now also beginning to appear on the top of the body in a kanoko pattern.
Mr Taniguchi was also very experienced with both the Benigoi (single-coloured red koi) and the Karashigoi (cross between a Kigoi, a single-coloured yellow koi and a Chagoi) varieties and he knew, from experience, that a cross between these two varieties would produce a light-yellow fish with red spots. So, he bred his female Gin Rin Asagi-like koi to one of his male Benigoi-Karashigoi cross koi with the intention of maintaining the hi kanoko pattern while also changing the body colour from the grey-blue of the Asagi to the nicer light-yellow colour of the Karashigoi.
Golden Corn Lineage
After 3 generations of breeding pairs, Mr Taniguchi was very pleased with the next generation of koi produced. In particular, they had all the aspects he had been aiming for, the light-yellow body colour and the strong hi kanoko pattern. Interestingly, they also had a much deeper hi colouration in the kanoko pattern from the Benigoi genes that Mr Taniguchi was very excited about. He had achieved the exact koi he was aiming for but he had expected to have to breed another generation to introduce more Benigoi genes and enhance the hi colouration further but, fortunately, one Benigoi was enough! Now Mr Taniguchi had created the variety he had aimed for, it was now time to improve the quality and continue developing the various aspects of the pattern until show-worthy koi were produced and then grown large enough.
Selection of Tosai Golden Corn from breeder Taniguchi
Pongoi (Best Quality) Golden Corn Koi
It is often very difficult, and even impossible, to judge new koi varieties as they often do not have a specific standard to conform to. It is much easier to judge older varieties such as Chagoi and Gosanke koi as there is a set standard in the colouration, pattern and body shape. Newer varieties, such as the Golden Corn, are often still quite experimental with lots of different patterns and lots of different colours being preferred by different hobbyists, breeders and judges.
That being said, there are some aspects of the Golden Corn we can judge based on the definition of what a Golden Corn should be. We know that it should have either a yellow or a silver-grey base colour and we know that the scales should be a bright red (or yellow) with a strong reticulation and kanoko pattern, giving the appearance of a corn on the cob. We also know that the koi should have a Gin Rin pattern. So, we can judge each of these individually. However, it is important to consider that in any koi, but especially new varieties, compromises are often made as a perfect koi is very difficult to find.
First of all, we can consider the colouration of the koi, specifically the quality and consistency of the colours. Depending on the variation of Golden Corn, the base colour should either be a bright yellow or a light grey colour. If the base colour is yellow, it should be a beautiful vibrant colour, similar to a sunny yellow. If the base colour is light grey, then the shade should be nice and light, almost similar to an off-white colouration. Most importantly, regardless of the base colour is the consistency. The koi should have the same base colour all over, including the head, fins and tail, with no variation in the colour. Any deviation in shade is considered an imperfection in the fish.
The next thing to consider when judging a Golden Corn koi is the reticulation pattern, specifically the colour and consistency. When a koi has reticulated scales, it means that each scale has a light tint at the base that becomes a darker tint at the top of the scale, resulting in a gradient effect. The colour of this tint varies between varieties, but, typically, the best reticulation occurs when the tint colour is a sharp contrast to the scale and skin colour. For example, in a Golden Corn koi, the skin is either a bright yellow or a paler grey and the ideal reticulation colour in the scales is a bright red (or yellow in the case of the grey base colour Golden Corns) resulting in a strong contrast between the skin and the scales. This gives the koi the net pattern, or pinecone effect, that really stands out on a fully grown Golden Corn koi.
As mentioned, the colour of the reticulation should be either yellow or bright red, depending on the version of the Golden Corn variety. Ideally, each scale will have a gradient from a lighter shade to a deep, vibrant colour. Most importantly, however, is that the colours should be consistent. Every scale should have the same light and dark tints and every scale should have the exact same gradient effect. Any single scale out of place, either with different shades in the reticulation pattern or in the actual position of the scale, will be very noticeable and is considered a big imperfection in any variety of koi with a reticulation pattern. With the Golden Corn variety, the reticulation is often judged quite lightly as it takes a lot of work and a great number of generations to perfect. Since the variety is so new, allowances are often made for various aspects of any specific koi of the variety.
Finally, we can consider the kanoko pattern, if the koi has one. Kanoko refers to a dappled pattern, much like you might see on a deer or a fawn. Therefore, it is comprised of lots of different spots of colour covering the whole body of the koi. In particular, the spots themselves should be no larger than a scale or two and there should be enough space between the kanoko spots to allow the base colour to be apparent between them. If the spots are too big or you cannot see any base colour between different spots, then the pattern will appear more like a classic Kohaku pattern and will therefore no longer be considered kanoko.
Of course, we can also consider the Gin Rin at this point. However, the best way to judge a Gin Rin koi is to firstly, judge the other aspects of the koi and then consider the Gin Rin in the case that you have more than one very similar koi. When you are considering Golden Corn koi, the koi are often so unique that it would be very rare to be in this situation! In general, the fish should have at least 3 rows of scales with the Gin Rin sparkle on either side of the dorsal fin and the Gin Rin should be consistent and just generally be pleasing to the eye!
When choosing a Golden Corn koi of your own, it is very important to remember that this is a very new variety and so it is nearly impossible to judge even a fully grown Golden Corn, but especially a younger Tosai or Nisai koi. Because the variety is so new, very little experimentation has been done when it comes to selecting younger koi. This means that there is little to no guidance for choosing younger Golden Corn as no one really knows what will grow into the best adult koi. In fact, it has been proven many times that this is a variety that truly changes a lot over its lifetime. It is very often the case that a Golden Corn looks completely different at Tosai age and then at Sansai age and even again at Yonsai age! You can see that clearly in the Golden Corn koi that was the All Japan Koi Show Winner that we spoke about above. In the graphic above, we can see the development of this koi over 4 years and the dramatic changes it has gone through. It is really incredible how different it can look from Tosai to fully grown!
As an example, Mr Taniguchi had one particular Golden Corn that was pure white at Tosai age and was due to be culled as it had none of the desirable hi colouration. Fortunately, a customer visiting the koi farm fell in love with this koi for its perfect, snowy white colouration, so they brought it and took it home. A few years later, when the koi was Yonsai age (between 3 and 4 years old), the customer sent a photograph of this koi back to Mr Taniguchi and he could barely believe what he saw! This pure white Tosai koi had grown into a stunning Golden Corn koi with a beautiful hi-coloured kanoko pattern along the whole body of the koi. It had only a small amount of the shiro colouration remaining, only a small oval at the base of the head and the whole body had a beautiful shiro-coloured reticulation pattern giving the fish a beautiful net-like pattern. And so, another variation on the Golden Corn had been created, this time completely by accident! Mr Taniguchi now keeps some of his pure white Tosai and other potential culls just to see what will be produced.
It just goes to show that there really is no way to determine what will make the best Golden Corn koi at such a young age!
Here at Keruto Koi, we are very excited about this new variety and we are proud to be one of the first UK sellers of Golden Corn koi. To browse our current Golden Corn selection, have a look at our website: