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General Description

'Bekko' is the term applied to a koi that has a single base color of white (shiro bekko), or red (aka bekko), or yellow (ki bekko).   Over this base color are black markings in the form of spots generally confined to the body above the lateral line.

Bekko is to sanke as utsuri is to showa. Thus, all criteria that apply to sanke sumi quality and pattern are applicable to bekko sumi.

Appreciation Criteria


The base color (whether shiro, aka, or ki) of the body must be unblemished, thick, rich, and of uniform hue and quality.  The base color must not exhibit any sign of tint of a different color.


The sumi (black) markings of a bekko must be deep, solid, and shiny lacquer-black. The shape of every sumi spot must be clearly defined, with its kiwa or edges as sharp as possible.  Undeveloped sumi (also known as 'sashi') may appear mottled dark blue or gray instead of solid black.  This is not bad for a young koi, since sumi actually develops as the koi grows older.


Shiro Bekko

Photos' source: www.keirinponds.com


The base color and black markings of a bekko must be artistically balanced.  This means that a certain color must not be confined to one side or one end of the koi only. 

The sumi of a bekko must be distributed in the koi body such that they collectively add balance to the koi.  Old-style bekko koi are heavily endowed with sumi.  Modern bekko koi exhibit a sparser distribution of sumi, but these should be clearly defined and solid black nonetheless. 

An important consideration in choosing a bekko is the cleanliness of its head.  Its head should be unblemished by any sumi or shimi (small black spots), and should be as white and pristine as possible.


Please see separate article on The Ideal Koi Body.



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