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Koi Glossary of Words

This glossary of koi-related words is a handy reference for koikeepers.

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Aka: Red background
Ai: Blue
Albino: A strain usually demonstrated by red eyes
All Japan Nishikigoi Show: Japan’s largest koi show held annually
Asagi: Light blue or gray scales with dark blue or black scale edgings. Orange or red pectoral fins and red below the lateral line. Blue or white head.
Asagi Hi: Secondary, undesirable red appearing as freckles
Bekko: White koi with colored patches on the back and no color on the head
Beni: Orange or red background
Boke: Undeveloped showa sumi
Butterfly koi: Any variety of koi that has long fins that reflect light
Cha: Brown
Chagoi: Brown-scaled koi
Dagoi: Poor-quality fish
Dainichi: Famous gosanke lineage of koi
Doitsu: Koi that have no scales or just a row of scales along each lateral line and a row on either side of the dorsal fin
Fucarin: Area of skin around smaller scales of metallic koi. The smaller the scales, the greater the luster.
Gin: Silver
Ginrin or Gin Rin: Commonly used term for kinginrin, referring to sparkling scale types
Goi: Fish
Gosai: 5-year-old koi
Gosanke: Refers collectively to the “big three” of koi keeping: kohaku, sanke and showa
Goshiki: Five-color koi
Hara: Abdominal area
Hajiro: Name for koi that are mainly black
Hariwake: Name for metallic silver koi with orange or yellow markings
Heisei Period: Contemporary Japanese era that started in 1989 and continues to present (Periods are dated and named after the Emperor of Japan and the time he serves as Emperor.)
Hi: Red markings (literally means “fire”)
Hikari Utsuri: Black koi with metallic utsuri pattern
Hikari Moyo: Metallic koi with a two-color pattern
Hikari-Moyomono: A classification including all metallic koi with two or more colors, except metallic utsuri and showa
Hikari muji: Koi with one color and metallic scales
Iroagari: The degree of color intensity
Iroage: The act of intensifying the various colors
Jinbei: The sanke line of koi
Kabuto: “Helmet,” referring to a koi whose head color is different from that of its body
Kage: A shadow
Kao: Face
Karasu: Black background
Kawarigoi: Koi that do not fall into any mainstream koi classification
Kawarimono: All nonmetallic koi not represented in other koi categories
KHV: Koi herpes virus. An extremely infectious virus with no known cure or scientifically proven antidote. A KHV infection can kill all the koi in a pond. Quarantine of new fish is the only method to prevent infection, though even this cannot be guaranteed.
Kin: Yellow or gold
Kinginrin: Koi that has sparkling scales. Literally “gold and silver scales.”
Kindai: Modern
Kiwa: Edges of the pattern
Kohaku: Koi with white body and orange or red markings
Koromo: White koi with red pattern that has black, gray or blue reticulation on the scales
Kozumi: Small black spots
Kuchibeni: A red-lipped koi
Magoi: A mud carp, originally wild carp
Maruten: Round spot on the head
Men: Face
Midori: Green
Nesai: Between 1 and 2 years old, referring to koi age
Nezu: Gray
Nezumi: Gray
Niban: Secondary
Nishikigoi: Name for koi in Japan
Ogon: Metallic gold koi
Orenji: Orange
Oyugu Hoseki: “Living jewels,” an affectionate name for koi
Sabi: Appearance of depth to the skin of scaled koi
Sanke: Tricolored koi having white with a large red pattern with black spots or bands on the top of the body.
Sansai: Between 2 and 3 years old, referring to koi age
Sashi: Blurred line caused by white scales overlapping red ones on leading edge of hi
Shimmies: Black spots
Shiro: White
Shiroji: White background
Shitsu: Quality or nature of skin, including shiroji, hi, sumi, etc.
Showa: Koi with black, red and white markings
Showa Period: Japanese era from 1927 through 1989
Showa Sumi: The type of black pattern found in stripes and bands all over a koi, including the head
Shusui: Blue doitsu koi with red markings on the sides
Sumi: Black markings
Taisho Period: Japanese era from 1912 through 1926
Tancho: Koi with a round or oval red patch on the head and a white body
Tategoi: A koi with potential for further development, is not yet finished developing
Tetsu Magoi: Ancestor or predecessor of showa, chagoi and ogon lines
Tosai: The age of a koi up to 1 year old
Utsuri: Black koi with large color patches
Utsurimono: Formal name for utsuri
Vermin: Animals that try to eat your nishikigoi
Yamabuki: Pale yellow
Yamatonishiki: Metallic sanke
Yonsai: 4-year-old koi
ZNA: Zen Nippon Airinkai. An international association for amateur koikeepers.

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