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Koi Varieties - Lemon Hariwake

Welcome to the latest instalment in our ‘Koi Varieties’ blog series where today we will be talking about the Lemon Hariwake koi which is a stunning metallic fish with white and lemon-yellow colourations.

Lemon Hariwake koi from breeder Oofuchi

The Hariwake (HAH-ree-WAH-keh) subvariety of koi describes two coloured koi where one of the colours is platinum, or metallic white, and the other colour is a metallic colour, either yellow, orange, or red. Therefore, a Lemon Hariwake is a koi with a platinum base colouration and a metallic lemon-yellow pattern.

It is unknown exactly when the first Hariwake koi was bred but we do know that the subvariety was created from a pairing of a Kohaku (a white koi with red patterns) and a Platinum Ogon (a metallic pure-white koi) to create a metallic Kohaku, called the Hariwake koi. We also know that the Platinum Ogon variety was first bred in 1947 by a breeder called Sawata Aoki and we know that a Hariwake koi was bred to a Shusui (Doitsu blue koi with red patterns along the side of the fish) to create the Doitsu Kujaku variety in the early 1960s. Therefore, we can conclude that the Hariwake must have been first bred between 1947 and the early 1960s. The most commonly accepted time frame is the 1950s.

The first Hariwake koi were essentially metallic Kohaku with deep, vibrant red patterns but within a couple of decades, breeders began to expand the Hariwake variety by growing on koi with orange or yellow patterns instead of the deep red of the Kohaku. This resulted in koi with beni (orange red) or ki (yellow) patterned Hariwake koi. The most popular out of these varieties was the lemon-yellow version which quickly became the Lemon Hariwake koi variety.

Doitsu Lemon Hariwake koi from breeder Oofuchi

Pongoi (Best Quality) Lemon Hariwake koi

Since the Lemon Hariwake koi is a close cousin to the Kohaku koi and has a similar pattern, the guidelines for the pattern are the same. Firstly, the pattern should be balanced over the whole body of the fish, from head to tail and from left to right. The ki pattern should be evenly spread over the space with no areas clearly lacking ki colouration and no areas lacking in the shiro base colouration. Around 50% of each colour, distributed nicely, is ideal. There are quite a few different patterns acceptable in a Kohaku koi including a continuous straight pattern down the whole body, a single Tancho (circular) spot on the head, and step patterns involving different numbers of sections of hi. For a Lemon Hariwake, the ideal pattern is called a Sandan which is a three-step pattern. This means that the body should have three clear and separated sections of ki with shiro completely surrounding each one. Each of these three steps should be of a good size but should not connect to each other in any way. This pattern is ideal for a Lemon Hariwake as it allows for a good distribution of the two colours and prevents either one from being overpowered by the other.

Next, we need to consider the colours of the koi. Firstly, the shiro of the base colour should be a beautiful snow-white with no blemishes or imperfections. The ki should be vibrant and eye-catching with a consistent shade and hue across each step and over the whole body. Also, the kiwa (edges) between each colour should be crisp, clean, and well defined with no blurring of the boundaries or bleeding between the colours.

Doitsu Lemon Hariwake koi from breeder Oofuchi

Finally, since this is a metallic fish with both the shiro and the ki being metallic, we need to consider the quality of the sheen and lustre of the skin of the fish. Overall, the most important thing is that the amount of sheen and the quality of the lustre is consistent over the whole body. There should be no obvious areas of pattern that have no reflective sheen and, ideally, no areas should be obviously more reflective than others. The sheen itself should be beautiful and shiny with careful consideration taken to the shiro base. A metallic shiro colouration should appear almost mirror-like and, in the very best koi, appear reminiscent of pure snow just catching the sun’s rays on an early morning in winter.

Overall, the Lemon Hariwake is a beautiful, graceful looking koi that will surely bring a touch of luxury to any pond.

To browse our current Lemon Hariwake koi, have a look here:

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