Ornamental nishikigoi (“brocaded” carp) swim serenely around a large tank. Their names highlight their distinctive colors. Red-and-white Kohaku evokes the Hinomaru (Japanese flag). Taisho Sanshoku and Showa Sanshoku feature black, red, and white spots. Yamabuki Kogane shimmers like gold.
Developed in Japan, nishikigoi are a unique type of domesticated koi bred for decorative enjoyment and raised with aquafarming. This culture — which pays meticulous attention to colors and patterns — originated in an old Yamakoshi village in Niigata Prefecture during the 19th century. Nishikigoi were first exhibited at the Tokyo Expo in 1914, sparking popular interest and creation of many varieties that Japanese people know and love.
Recently, sophisticated transportation enables nishikigoi export to overseas countries. Nishikigoi have become status symbols of affluence even among enthusiasts outside Japan, and are gradually spreading around the globe.