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Koi Varieties – Kujaku

Welcome to the newest instalment of our ‘Koi Varieties’ series of blogs. Today we will be looking at a slightly less traditional koi than the Gosanke koi we were looking at previously – the Kujaku koi!

Kujaku Koi from breeder Marusaka

Kujaku koi are a very beautiful variety of koi. In fact, the full name for the variety is Kujaku Ogon which translates literally as ‘Peacock’ and the koi itself are often nicknamed the Peacock koi here in the UK.

A Kujaku koi is a metallic koi with strong reticulation in the scales resulting in the fish having a net-like look running down its back. This reticulation is then overlaid with either a red, orange, yellow or gold Kohaku-type pattern resulting in a very striking effect. It is no wonder that Kujaku koi are a very desired variety for many koi keepers, new and experienced alike!

The Kujaku koi is a relatively recent variety of koi that was originally bred in the 1960s by Nishi Hirasawa of Hiranishi Fish Farms in Japan. The variety was first created by breeding a Hariwake koi (a two-coloured koi with platinum and either metallic yellow, gold or orange colouration) with a Shusui koi (a doitsu, or scaleless, koi with a blue-grey base colour and red colouration on the sides and fins).

Shortly after it was first bred, the Kujaku koi variety quickly made its way into the public eye through shows and competitions. It was originally judged in the larger category of Hikarimoyo (meaning a metallic koi with two or more colours) at competitions. Recently, however, the reputation of Kujaku koi has shot up and their popularity at competitions has led to them being judged in their own category!

Kujaku Koi from breeder Nishikigoi Niigata Direct (NND)

There are quite a few points to consider when judging the quality of a Kujaku koi. Since the koi itself will have aspects of a few different, older varieties of koi, the best quality Kujaku will showcase the best aspects of each of these varieties.

The first point to consider is the sheen and lustre of the skin of the koi. Since Kujaku is a metallic koi, it is important that the skin is not dull. If you have a bright and shiny Kujaku, it will stand out in your pond and always be noticeable whereas a poor sheen will not catch the eye at all. You may see that different Kujaku have different areas of their body with the best sheen – one may have a beautiful and bright shimmer along the top of its back while another may have a similar shimmer only behind its head. There is no rule here about what is best – the one you like the best is the best koi for you!

The next thing to consider is the quality of the reticulation on the scales. This reticulation is what gives the Kujaku koi the lovely net-like pattern along its back. Again, the thickness of the reticulation is entirely down to personal preference – as long as the reticulation is not overpowering the beautiful metallic scales, any thickness of the black is acceptable. Some koi keepers prefer light and delicate reticulation while others prefer a dark and heavy reticulation and other still prefer anything in between! The only important thing to note is that, regardless of the thickness of the reticulation, it should still be even all over. The best quality Kujaku will have the same thickness of reticulation all over, it should not have thin reticulation at one part of the body and thick reticulation on another. When the reticulation is even all over, it results in a stunning looking koi that any koi keeper would be proud to have in their pond.

Goshiki Kujaku Koi from breeder Aokiya

Finally, we can consider the quality of the colourations on the koi. A Kujaku has a few colours to consider. Firstly, we can consider the base colour. In a Kujaku, this is shiroji, or white, and should be a beautiful clear snow-white colour. A clean white ground contrasting with a bright hi colouration can result in a beautiful and stunning koi fish. The next colour to consider is the hi, or the red. This can be any shade of red – a deep, bright red is favourable for some, and a fiery orange is favourable for others. The important thing is that the colour is even with a consistent shade through the fish and that the kiwa, the edges, are strong and clear.

When it comes to the pattern of the hi on the koi, the same rules apply as for a Kohaku koi. You can read about these in detail in our blog - 'Koi Varieties - Kohaku' which can be found here: Essentially, the patches of hi should be medium-large sized and evenly balanced along the body and roughly symmetrical on the left and right sides of the fish.

Kujaku koi are a beautiful variety of koi and have well-earned their nickname of the ‘Peacock Koi’. Even if just one of the above considerations is perfect, you will have a stunning looking koi. It is rare for all of these considerations to be perfect, but a show winning Kujaku is a truly amazing koi.

Have a look at our current selection of Kujaku koi on our website:

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