View Full Version : Selecting a Showa...

Jeff R.
03-18-2005, 02:35 PM
What follows was passed out in written form at the Seminar Selecting Young Koi by Nicole Lembke and Debby Hester. The material was written by Dr. Art Lembke and I recieved permission from Nicole Lembke to share this with the Koiphen Board. The caveat was that we must credit Art for his work. That is not a problem because we know who to ask if we have further questions. :yes: Please do not cut and paste this material without first getting permission for Dr. Art Lembke. I hope you enjoy the information as much as I did.

Selecting a Showa
Selecting a good showa is one of the toughest young koi to choose. Showa change very much as they grow. They can also take a long time to develop, many times 5 or more years to finish. Many times the black is very deep and only comes out as the fish grows. For this reason, when you see gray areas in the white, it may be deep black that will appear later.
Start selecting a young showa, as with other young koi, by looking at the head. The head should have all three colors: red, black, and white, preferably in equal amounts. Best would be to have a good kohaku head with a lightening stripe or a Y -shape in black on the top of the head. Nose sumi is a sign of good black to come. Many Showa do not develop Sumi until later, so try to pick a koi with good red and white with some black coming out.
Next, look for a good kohaku pattern on the body. It should be balanced. Then check to see if black is present or coming up all over the body. Black, on Showa, tends to finish from the back forward. So if there is some good black in the back and hints of black on the front, this may be a good Showa to try. Also look for black starting, below the lateral line. This tends to develop stronger and spread to the top. Black that originates from underneath, I feel, is more stable than black that does not wrap the body. Do not worry if the black looks to be poor quality at an early age. Black develops later in most good quality showa. It is also okay to have orangeČred at a young age because the red improves as the fish grows.
The next important thing to check is the pectoral fins. Ideally, the inner 1/3rd of the fins (close to the body) should be black. As the pectoral fin grows, the black seems to remain the same and the surrounding white area seems to enlarge. If the pectoral fins are all black in a young koi it may be all right, because this too can grow to have acceptable Showa fins. If the Showa is already three years old, this may be a problem. Also in older Showa, avoid brush sumi pectorals, which have striping out to the tips. All other fins should preferably be white, but some black is acceptable,
especially at the base. No red should be in any of the fins.
Look for a good strong body, large pectoral fins, and a disease free fish. One must know how to choose a good kohaku and a good shiro utsuri to be able to choose a good showa. If you take all the black away from a showa you should have a good kohaku and if you take all the red away you should have a good Shiro Utsuri.
As you can see, Showa are one of the most difficult koi to select at a young age, because they change so much as they grow. It is this complexity that makes this one of my favorite varieties of koi.

Ray Jordan
03-18-2005, 05:49 PM
Art has written some fantastic articles on selecting koi. Showas are very changeable and do not always change for the better. When they do you often have a spectacular koi. Two additional points when buying show. Sumi is weaker in the front of showas so buy a baby showa with sumi emerging in the front especially the head area. Also not all sumi will emerge or finish (become deep shiny black) but stay blurred gray. So buy a showa that is showing some finished sumi - even better if on the head.

THis is one of my favorite photo sequences. 1st is as a 1 year old baby, next is three years old, last is five years old. Notice the darker grey areas under the baby showas skin and how they expand and darken as this showa matures. What a ride. But, don't expect all showas to develop like this one. Showas are one of the hardest koi to predict. Even showa breeders have to guess which ones to keep and which ones to sell.

This years All Japan SHow Grand Champion was sold as a tosai for $2,000 eleven years ago. at twelve years of age the original owner saw his showa earn GC at the biggest koi show in the world. Big mistake by the breeder Futo Maruyama. The Reserve champion was bought as a two year old koi for a reported $160,000.

Take a chance on a baby showa. You will enjoy the ride.

03-18-2005, 06:51 PM
Amazing Ray, Thank you very much!!

03-20-2005, 08:52 PM
Great information! What do you think about this jumbo tosai showa? I think it is really unusual! Very large too, at 10".