Fall in Love with Koi: The Japanese National Fish

  • “Koi” is the word for carp in Japanese. It is a group of fish which is commonly bred for decorative purposes. It includes two kinds of fish, the darker grey color and the brightly-colored one.


    The latter is more popular than the former and is also known as the brocaded carp or “nishikigoi” in Japanese.

    The Origin of Koi

    Do you know that Koi originally came from China? It is written in Chinese history. There was a time when the son of Confucius was given by King Shoko of Ro a mutated carp as a gift symbolizing strength. It then became a subject of much Chinese artwork. Koi has a resilient nature. They can survive different climates and water conditions and can easily adapt to different locations. Thus, they were then bred for food in China at least until the 5th century BC and were also bred for color in Japan. This then started the beginning of the Japanese Koi Fish.

    The Popularity of Koi Fish


    From then on, the hobby of breeding Koi became immensely popular in Japan. People were very attracted to the lovely colors of the fish that it was considered to be the most desired fish in the country. It was also given as a gift to Emperor Hirohito’s palace moat which then caught the eyes of many foreign people. Thus, the Koi’s popularity expanded even more abroad.

    Koi Varieties


    Koi’s popularity opened a door to having more chances of breeding, thus paving the way towards creating more than a hundred types of Koi fish. There are several varieties of Koi. Each is distinguished from the other based on color, pattern and the variety of scales. Some colors include white, black, yellow, red, cream and blue. There are 22 major varieties of Koi fish all over the world. The first ornamental variety to be used in Japan was the “kohaku.”

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