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Koi Varieties – Platinum Ogon

Our newest blog post is the first in a group of posts all about Ogon koi. Ogon koi are a subvariety of koi that are all single-coloured koi with beautiful metallic skin. First, we will be looking at the pure white version of this subvariety, the Platinum Ogon.

Platinum Ogon koi from breeder Yamazaki

The word Ogon (OH-gahn) translates as ‘golden’ and was historically used to refer to any metallic fish. However, nowadays, more and more koi keepers and breeders use the word ‘Ogon’ to refer to only single-coloured metallic koi. When most koi keepers hear ‘Ogon’ they tend to think of the Big Three Ogon koi which are the Yamabuki, Orenji and Platinum Ogons but many other Ogon koi varieties including the Mizuho and the Mukashi Ogons are becoming more and more popular.

The Platinum Ogon, known in Japan as the Purachina Ogon (POO-rah-CHEE-nah OH-gahn), first appeared in koi shows in 1963 but the breeding process began in the late 1940’s. All of the Ogon varieties were first bred by Sawata Aoki and his family who, over the next few decades, would go on to run one of Japan’s biggest and most well-known koi farms, Aokiya. For many centuries, Japanese people have considered gold and silver to be incredibly important and, in fact, considered them to be two of the national treasures of Japan. Aoki wanted to produce these colours in koi fish as he knew that they would be incredibly popular.

The Platinum Ogon koi was originally bred when Aoki bred a Kigoi (a light yellow, single-coloured koi) with a Nezu Ogon (a dark grey, metallic, single-coloured koi). This pairing led to the offspring having the metallic sheen from the Nezu Ogon as well as a lighter, sliver colouration from the dark grey of the Nezu Ogon combined with the light yellow of the Kigoi. That is, the fry looked like slightly darker versions of the Platinum Ogon koi we have today. Within about 15 years and a number of generations of this new variety, Aoki was able to gradually lighten the skin colour from the grey colour of the first generation to a lovely, clean silver. At this point, in 1963, Aoki first began to show his new variety to great success! People loved his new variety and over the next few decades, Aoki continued to develop the variety by lightening each new generation into the lovely snow-white Platinum Ogon koi we know today.

Gin Rin Platinum Ogon koi from breeder Aokiya

Pongoi (Best Quality) Platinum Ogon Koi

Ogon koi are arguably one of the easiest koi varieties to judge due to their single-coloured simplicity compared to the 5 colours of the Goshiki or the complex reticulation of the Goromo. However, such simplicity requires perfection. While a small colour bleed or a misaligned scale may be ignored on other varieties, on the pure white body of the Platinum Ogon, such an imperfection is much more obvious and difficult to ignore. Therefore, Platinum Ogon are judged much more strictly than many other varieties. In addition to this, because of their popularity, many breeders will breed lots and lots of Platinum Ogon koi allowing them to be very strict with the culling and selection processes, which results in only the very best koi being sold and imported.

The main two considerations when judging a Platinum Ogon koi are the consistency and quality of the colour and of the metallic sheen. Firstly, we will consider the colour. The ideal colour for a Platinum Ogon is a beautiful, pure and snowy shiro, or white, colouration. Since this is a metallic variety, a slight grey tinge is acceptable as the metallic sheen will make the skin look a lovely silver colour that will glisten in the light. Most importantly, the colour should be consistent along the whole body and in the head, fins, and tail. As mentioned above, it is often easy to see when there are inconsistencies and blemishes in the colour, and these should be minimised for the best quality Platinum Ogon. The most important consideration for this variation is that it must have a clean body and ideally also have a clean head, fins, and tail.

Gin Rin Platinum Ogon koi from breeder Yamazaki

The other thing to consider when judging a Platinum Ogon koi is the metallic sheen on the body of the fish. Just like the shiro base colour, the most important thing about the sheen is that the amount must be consistent over the whole body of the koi and the lustre should have the same quality all over. A koi with poor but consistent lustre is considered better than a koi with both good and bad areas of lustre. The sheen should be visible over all areas of the body with no areas clearly lacking the reflective sheen. For a beautiful metallic koi, the skin should be shiny like a mirror and, on the shiro base colour of the Platinum Ogon, be comparable to a reflection of the sun against a fresh snowfall.

The Platinum Ogon is a beautiful stand-out fish where most of the appeal comes from the simplicity of the koi. A perfect Platinum Ogon can be truly stunning with their gracefulness really standing out in a pond of mixed koi. This is definitely a variety that will always draw the eye!

To see our current stock of Platinum Ogon koi, click here:

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