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Koi Varieties

Hikari Utsuri


Although Hikari Utsuri may be thought of as black-based metallic Koi, it is more correct to view them as the metallic offspring of an Ogon, crossed with either Utsurimono or Showa. Doitsu and Gin Rin versions of Hikari Utsuri also occur.  Hikari Utsuri is a category that covers Showa or Utsurimono that have been crossbred with Hikarimuji to produce a patterned Koi that has a metallic sheen. Showa become Kin Showa, Shiro Utsuri become Gin Shiro, and Hi Utsuri or Ki Utsuri become Kin Hi or Kin Ki Utsuri. At the present time, there are only three varieties in this category.

The Ki Kokuryu and the Kin Ki Kokuryu (metallic Kumonryu) have a different lineage and are not classified as Hikari Utsuri. Ki Kokuryu is classified as Hikarimoyo in the UK and as Kawarigoi in Japan.

Hikari Utsuri has the same sumi positioning criteria as Showa and Utsurimono because this class contains the metallic equivalent of both these groups. The following are classified as Hikari Utsuri:

Gin Shiro Utsuri – Black and silver


Kin Ki Utsuri – Black and gold


Kin Hi Utsuri – Black and metallic red


Kin Showa – Black, metallic red and silver
Gin Showa – Black, gold and Silver. (Recently however, all metallic Showa are named Kin Showa)

                        kin_showa            ginshowa

The sumi is usually present on the head and especially the nose. The typical patterning is either a “v” on the forehead or a lightning stripe dividing the head (menware or hachiware). It is also expected that sumi should appear in the mouth. The sumi patterns on the body of the Hikari Utsuri tend to wrap over the back and reach far down to below the lateral line. These markings can be highly asymmetrical or appear in large blocks. The pectoral fins normally have black fin joints (motoguro), rather than light stripes. In some cases the entire pectoral fin is black which is not desirable. 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 Ki or Hi as thick and deep. Colours are therefore usually lighter in shade than the non-metallic counterparts. The metallic skin is usually brightest when it is white.

The figure or conformation of Hikari Utsuri is an area that should be examined carefully. On Koi with large areas of sumi, defects are not always easy to see. As for all Koi, a broad well-proportioned head should lead smoothly to a wide-shouldered, gradually tapering body with a broad peduncle in larger Koi. A common problem is a too short “dumpy” body. Hikari Utsuri does not readily attain great size. Large well-shaped Hikari Utsuri is therefore rare. The proportion of the fins is also important, as with all metallic Koi. The shape of the fins must also be carefully examined. Make sure that the leading edge or ray is smooth. Many Koi, especially the metallic varieties seem to show off in the water with stunning effect, therefore well-proportioned finnage adds considerably to the overall impression given. Very high quality metallic Koi have an almost mirror-like finish. The look and lustre of the skin is quite different from that of non-metallic Koi. There is no depth or softness and the sheen is flat and reflective, therefore even small imperfections of colour, scales and patterning are more obvious.

As mentioned in the preceding article on Utsurimono, the scattering of colours are also a problem with these metallic counterparts. Despite the frequent bad points, Hikari Utsuri demonstrates beautiful features that attract the eye. The metallic colour combinations, when bright, have a unique beauty and the quality of the reflective finish must be given priority when selecting a Hikari Utsuri. A more modern “minimal” sumi pattern create a lighter pleasing impression with the silver, gold or metallic red offset by smaller but intense sumi markings. All pattern edges should look sharp and well defined especially because the reflective skin does not allow the Sashi to appear prominent.

Lastly, Hikari Utsuri does not breed true with reliable consistency and are normally produced by the original cross.

Updated 13 April 2007 

Last Updated on Friday, 20 December 2013 12:10