Koi Varieties - Kigoi

Welcome to another blog post in our ‘Koi Varieties’ series where we have recently been looking at single-coloured koi varieties. Today we are looking at the Kigoi variety which is the yellow-coloured, non-metallic, single-coloured koi variety.


Kigoi koi from breeder Ikarashi Ozumi

Kigoi (KEE-goy) koi are a non-metallic, solid yellow koi that is normally categorised as a Kawarigoi (kah-WAH-ree-GOY) koi. This category refers to all non-metallic koi that do not fit in any other classification of koi. In this group, you will also find Benigoi, Chagoi, Ochiba and other koi varieties that do not have their own competition classifications.



The Kigoi koi variety was another one of the original koi varieties, first popularised in the late 1920s. The variety began with the Magoi carp which was a black wild carp common in Japan in the 18th and 19th centuries. Around the beginning of the 19th century, wild carp started to become pets rather than purely food and koi keeping started to become a hobby. Many of the early koi varieties came about as a variation or a mutation of the wild carp and the Kigoi is no exception. The Kigoi variety actually came about from selectively breeding the Benigoi koi variety which is the single-coloured, non-metallic red variety and had only just been developed. By selectively breeding pairs of lighter coloured Benigoi koi, the koi breeders were able to slowly reduce the amount of red in the skin of the koi, leaving a bright yellow coloured koi, the Kigoi koi!


Kigoi koi from breeder Otsuka

At some point in the early 20th century, during the breeding process of Kigoi koi, an albino mutation appeared. In most other varieties, a fish with a mutation like this would be removed from the breeding population but in this case, the breeder liked the way the mutation appeared in this fish and so kept it in the breeding population and eventually produced the Akame Kigoi koi. The albino mutation in this variety causes the fish to be devoid of all pigments except yellow, orange and red. This means that the body of the fish looks the same, but the koi also has bright red eyes where the black pigment in the eye is missing. This variety is very rare and is only bred by one koi farm, Kloubec Koi Farm in America, outside of Japan but it is very highly desired!




Pongoi (Best Quality) Kigoi Koi


When it comes to judging a Kigoi koi, or any other single-coloured koi, the most important thing to consider is the colour, its quality, and its consistency. Many other varieties have bright colours and interesting patterns, or even metallic skin or long fins! Whereas the Kigoi is a much simpler koi with only the one colour. However, this means that the colour is the first thing that people see and therefore must be perfect in any Pongoi Kigoi koi.


Gin Rin Kigoi koi from breeder Otsuka

As with most of the other single coloured koi, a few different shades of yellow are acceptable with each koi keeper and breeder having their own personal preference. Most importantly though, as with many koi varieties, the consistency of the colour determines the best quality koi. This is because, in single-coloured koi, there are no bright patterns or contrasting colours to draw the eye, instead there is just the one colour which should be perfect all over including the body, head, fins and tail, and, in general, the more consistent the colour of the fish, the better the quality of the koi. Any deviation in shade is considered an imperfection in the fish. Of course, for a Kigoi koi, the shade of the ki is important too. Generally, any shade of yellow or light orange is acceptable, but the best shade is considered to be a bright, sunshine yellow, as this colour is vibrant and stands out amongst many other koi varieties with red, black, white, and blue colourations.


Just like many other single-coloured koi varieties, Kigoi koi have a slight reticulation pattern in their scales called fukurin (FOO-koo-REEN) which is visible as a slightly darker yellow tint at the top of each scale. This tint continues over the whole scale but with a gradient effect so that the darker colour is not covering the bottom of the scale. On this variety, the fukurin gives the fish the appearance of having darker yellow scales, outlined with a lighter lemon-yellow. Of course, some fish will show this much better than others with many only having a hint of fukurin that is very hard to see and others not displaying the pattern at all.

Gin Rin Kigoi from breeder Otsuka

In fact, the Kigoi is one of the weaker koi varieties when it comes to the fukurin pattern as many Kigoi koi will not display the pattern at all and many others will only have a hint of fukurin. Strong fukurin is very rare on a Kigoi koi.


If the Kigoi does have a visible fukurin pattern in its scales, it should be as even and consistent as possible. Each scale should be arranged neatly and in even rows while the thickness of the reticulation should be equal across all of the scales. The colour of the fukurin pattern is less important as different koi keepers prefer different shades, a darker fukurin colour will give each scale a very distinct outline while a lighter colour will give a more subtle effect. Again, however, consistency is key. Every scale should be the same colour and shade as any scales with a different fukurin colour will be immediately obvious.



Kigoi koi are a beautiful addition to any pond and especially stand out in ponds with large amounts of red, blue, white, and black colourations. Yellow is one of the least common koi colours, so a beautiful Kigoi really adds to any koi pond!