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The Strange Kumonryu



A year ago I saw some black-and-white koi swimming with Sankes and Showas in a pond of one of my favorite koi shops. Their bodies and behavior certainly indicated that they were koi, but I just couldn’t imagine their color scheme and patterns as being, well, koi-like.



I asked Allan, the guy minding the shop, if they were indeed koi, and if so, of what variety they were. He replied that they’re Kumonryu koi, and added that “they’re forever tategoi.”
When I heard the term “Kumonryu”, I immediately recalled having read something about relatively new Doitsu koi from Japan that constantly changed their black-and-white “killer whale” patterns. So they’re finally here. I just didn’t expect to see them in Manila.
Truth to tell, I wasn’t too impressed with their appearance. Most of the koi in the pond are almost totally black in color, with just small, random patches of white. Given that most ponds have dark floors and walls due to algal cover, I couldn’t see how they’d be able to compete with a good Gosanke in the same turf.
The koi were also being sold at almost twice the price of a Kohaku, so on this first visit I wasn’t inclined to get one. I came for an Asagi, so I wanted to bring home an Asagi. I ended up with nothing that day.
For the next few days I read up on Kumonryu koi. The more I’ve read, the more interesting they became to me. Needless to say, I was soon back in the shop for a couple of them.
Allan offered me the bigger specimens of their Kumonryu, saying that their bodies are already developed and at least I have an early indication that they’ll grow to a decent size. But these ‘big’ koi were really drab-looking, I said.
I wanted a Kumonryu with a more balanced combination of black and white, and went home instead with two much smaller koi, but whose color combinations are more striking than those of the others.
I guess I should have listened to the guy. I thought that Kumonryu koi changed their patterns over months, if not years. I was therefore really surprised when I saw my Kumonryu’s gradually changing their patterns from day 1. I would have been elated if the changes were for the better – they were actually morphing into clones of their drab-looking siblings in the shop.


I lost one of the Kumonryu’s on its second week in my pond – it just turned white and died. I didn’t suspect it of being sick even if it changed its colors drastically. After all, it was a Kumonryu, and was expected to change colors.
The second one had better luck - it soon stabilized in health and in color. I wasn’t too impressed with the outcome, but at least it gave me the opportunity to know the Kumonryu better.
I have no plans of acquiring more Kumonryu for my pond in the near future. I guess I’m one of those koi keepers who only like koi with brilliant colors. Unfortunately, the strange Kumonryu is not one of them.





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