Home Koi Varieties Koi Ponds Koi Care Koi Diseases Other Koi Topics Gallery Sales







General Description

'Utsuri' is the term applied to a koi that has a single base color of white (shiro utsuri), or red (hi utsuri), or yellow (ki utsuri).   Over this base color are black markings that 'wrap' around the body (going below the lateral line) as well as extend into the head.  Utsuri is to showa as bekko is to sanke. Thus, all criteria that apply to showa sumi quality and pattern are applicable to utsuri sumi. Utsuri was established around 1925.

Appreciation Criteria


The base color (whether shiro, hi, 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 an utsuri must be deep, solid, and shiny lacquer-black. The shape of every sumi marking must be clearly defined, with its kiwa or edges as sharp as possible.  Undeveloped sumi 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.  In fact, spotting a potential champion at a young age involves good anticipation of how well the sumi will develop in the next few years.




Shiro Utsuri (left), Ki Utsuri (center), Hi Utsuri (right)

Photos' sources: www.koi.com; www.keirinponds.com


The base color and black markings must be artistically balanced.  This means that a certain color must not be confined to one side or one end of the koi only.  A good example of excellent utsuri pattern is if the black and base colors are interspersed in a 'checkerboard' pattern.

A good utsuri must have both colors on its head.  Lightning-shaped sumi that streaks across the head and divides it into two is desirable. This sumi head marking is known as a 'menware.' A V-shaped sumi pattern on the shoulder of an utsuri is also desired.  It used to be that judges look for both a menware and this V-shaped shoulder sumi in an utsuri, but nowadays the presence of only one of these is acceptable. 

The base of the pectoral fins of an utsuri must be black. This black base area of pectoral fins is known as 'motoguro.'  The more defined and confined to the base it is, the better.


Please see separate article on The Ideal Koi Body.



Copyright 2006 www.KoiAndPonds.com. All Rights Reserved.