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The show class of the Hikarimoyo is almost the same “catch all” class for metallic Koi as Kawarimono is for non-metallic Koi. It is a relatively modern group influenced by the appearance of the Hikarimuji. The basic Ogon have been crossbred with almost every other variety of Koi to produce the wide range of always fascinating and often spectacular metallic Koi in this group. Hikarimoyo may be described as metallic white based Koi. The exception is of course Ki Kokuryu and Kin Ki Kokuryu that are black-based. Hikarimoyo derive from two distinct sources.

The first source is the crossing of two differently coloured metallic Koi. The results can be classified as the following:

Hariwake Ogon: This variety can be the combination of two metallic colours. It is usually a platinum base with metallic orange, red or gold patterns. Ideally, fully scaled Yamabuki and Orenji Hariwake should have clear platinum heads, although if the second colour intrudes it is not a disaster. The best examples show a lot of metallic white on the body, but others have only small areas of this platinum skin. The scales should give a three-dimentional impression.

Kikusui: A Doitsu Hariwake Ogon. Originally it was described as a Doitsu platinum base with orange, red or gold patterns similar to a Hana Shusui. These markings were arranged in a wavy pattern along the dorsal line, above the lateral line. Lately, all Doitsu Hariwake with orange or red markings are described as Kikusui. A Doitsu Hariwake Ogon with Yamabuki colouration is still commonly described as Doitsu Yamabuki Hariwake.

Tancho Ogon: A controversial name but described as a single coloured metallic body plus a marking on the head in a colour that does not appear anywhere else on the body. The Tancho Ogon normally comes from Kujaku breeding.

Hyakunenzakura: Kikusui with brilliant platinum dorsal scales. This is a rare fish.

Hariwake Matsuba: Confusing description. This variety has essentially the same appearance as Kujaku. The distinction lies in the positioning of the light and dark areas of the vignette. For show purposes, they are grouped together therefore the difference between Kujaku and Hariwake Matsuba is in my opinion purely academic.

The second group derives from a cross between a single coloured metallic Koi and a Koi from any other non-metallic variety, except Showa and Utsurimono.

Platinum Kohaku: As the name implies, a metallic Kohaku. Platinum ground with brilliant metallic red markings.

Yamatonishiki: The aristocrat of Hikarimoyo is this Metallic Sanke. This variety came on to the market in the 1960’s. Metallic skin in Hikarimoyo can dull the underlying colours because the light is diffused through them. This results in sumi becoming dark grey rather than black. The red or Hi becomes more orange and has been described as light shining through stained glass. The main attraction of Yamatonishiki is the platinum skin and finnage, which may or may not have tejima or Sanke style sumi stripes. Head markings should preferably be similar to those of a normal Sanke.

Hesei Nishiki:  German scaled metallic Sanke or Doitsu Yamatonishiki.

Ginsui or Kinsui: Metallic version of the Shusui. The distinction is that the Kinsui has more Hi. Both are now rarely seen.

Shochikubai: Metallic Goromo. It can be either a Sumi Goromo or an Ai Goromo.

Sakura Ogon: Metallic Kanoko Kohaku. Sakura Ogon means “Cherry Blossom”. It displays a flowery pattern of red patches. These patches should be cohesive and stable. Like all Hikarimoyo the hi is actually more of an orange-gold colour. See Kawarimono for a description of Kanoko Kohaku.

Gin Bekko: Metallic Shiro Bekko

Tora Ogon: Means Tiger Ogon. A metallic Ki Bekko.

Kujaku: Meaning peacock. It is the metallic Goshiki equivalent. A Hariwake Ogon in appearance with a vignette over both colour plates. First bred in 1960 and described as a five coloured koi. This sometimes stretches credubility because not all display white, black, red, brown and yellow markings. It is said that the patterning of a good specimen can rival that of Go-Sanke. Judging standards for modern Kujaku have become quite flexible and interesting head patterns (provided there is no black intruding) is just as acceptable as plain platinum or red. More about Kujaku later in the article.

Ki Kokuryu: Metallic version of the Kumonryu, therefore a black-based Koi. The Ki Kokuryu can to a certain extent deviate from the standards set for the platinum-based varieties as described later.

Kin Ki Kokuryu: Metallic version of the Beni Kumonryu.

Appreciation of Hikarimoyo.

As with all other varieties already described, it is important to consider the conformation and skin quality of the particular fish. In this group however it is important to note that the range of bright colours can easily draw the eye away from defects common to metallic Koi, such as a “dumpy” body, short head and deformed/out of proportion finnage. When considering Hikarimoyo, always look for a well proportioned specimen.

The skin quality is easily visible on the head and pectoral fins while sometimes it is less obvious across the shoulder area because of the colour patterns. Good lustre produces an almost mirror-like finish. The irridocytes on the surface of the scales give the Koi a metallic appearance. A combination of the irridocytes and the chromataphores produce reflective colours and therefore the Sumi and Hi tends to appear grey and orange-gold respectively. It is therefore rare to find a combination of irridocytes and chromataphores that will display the sumi as truly “printers ink” quality and the Hi as deep thick red. Sumi sometimes appear as black smudges and therefore a clean head is of the utmost importance. Black stains around the eyes, nose and on the pectoral fins are unfortunately a common problem for many Hikarimoyo. These defects are unfortunately highlighted by the metallic lustre. The base starting point of Hikarimoyo is the platinum Ogon and therefore the silver, shining head should be unblemished. Young fish with smudges as explained above should be avoided because these defects tend to become worse with age. It is important to distinguish between smudges. Thin skin can create the impression of imbedded colour, but as the fish develops, the skin will thicken.


In general, the pattern should not run into the finnage, because one of the main features of the Hikarimoyo is the attractive lustre on clean white pectoral fins. There are three exceptions. The first exception is red/gold/yellow fin joints, provided it is confined to a small area around the pectoral joint and balanced in appearance. The second exception is tejima or tezumi in the pectoral fins of the Bekko and Sanke derivatives namely Yamatonishiki, Gin Bekko and Tora Ogon. The third exception is the Ki Kokuryu that is not a white-based fish but based on the Kumonryu. In this variety the pectoral fins normally contains black.

kikokuryu1    kikokuryu    kikokuruyo_beni

Just as with other patterned Koi, appreciation starts with good kiwa. A stepped pattern is more interesting and therefore preferred to a continuous marking (renzohumoyo or Nippon Hi). The exception is of course the inazuma or lightning shaped pattern that still allow for the appreciation of sharp well-defined pattern edges and especially kiwa. Sashi does not normally appear on Hikarimoyo because of the reflective properties of the skin. Many varieties, even Doitsu in the group, tend to have bleeding of colour in the edge, and therefore lack the desired refinement.  The pattern should be balanced and the colour within the colour plates should be uniform with a solid appearance. A large white window on the head is a desirable feature for Hikarimoyo especially Kujaku. A Menkaburi marking over the head may look front-heavy and dull.

Hariwake Ogon may be further identified by adding the colour and scale pattern to the name. For example a bright yellow and platinum Doitsu Koi may be described as Doitsu Yamabuki Hariwake Ogon. The individuals with darker gold or red markings are collectively known as Kikusui. Until recently the very sharp contrast between the highly lustrous skin was a key element in appreciating Hariwake Ogon, especially if the pattern is also well balanced, unusual and with clearly defined edges. At one stage it was feared that breeders may follow the fashion of bold/red Kikusui and that the Yamabuki Hariwake would become very rare. Lately the subtle appeal of the much lighter coloured Hariwake has gained popularity. Koi with a platinum base over-layered with a pale yellow or cream pattern have an elegance of its own, especially if it is enhanced by neatly aligned scales with bright fukurin.


The Gin Matsuba is the foundation of Kujaku, with a Kohaku pattern imposed over the platinum. Because the Kohaku pattern is the starting point, odome at the base of the tail is also important. Kujaku adds another complexity element to the fish over Hariwake.  Remember, in the Koi Show world, the harder the journey the more the reward. The Matsuba of Kujaku, if not good, can dull the fish.  Head defects in shape or colour around the eyes and nose can make the head look dirty and the fish less elegant.  With the varied patterns, vertical and horizontal type patterns, it is important to look for balance.  The edge of the colour must be crisp.  So when you are buying, look for good contrast of colour.  On the Kujaku, which is a two colour Hariwake with a Matsuba pattern on top, you must make sure the netting is evenly coloured and evenly placed.  If the Matsuba is too dark it will hide the shine as well.  On the Kujaku, it is better if two colours are on the head, rather than a single colour. This is a very interesting variety for beginners and even the advanced hobbyist appreciates a good Kujaku


The next two photos illustrate the transformation of a Kaneko Kujaku in a matter of five months. The first photo was taken on arrival from Japan in June 2009 and the second photo in November 2009. Note the improvement in the viginette and how the skin quality has improved. The "smudges" on the head are now almost completely covered by thick white skin.

            kujaku_june_2009        kujaku_november_2009

Updated 23 November 2009

Last Updated on Friday, 20 December 2013 12:10