Showa - The King
If you like the look of power
and grace working in unison, then Showa might be the fish you are looking for,
with its bold, wrapping black markings that complement the colors of red and white
to create a dynamic panorama in three colors. Showa is considered one of the "big
three" along wiTh Kohaku and Sanke, and at most koi shows, one of these varieties
will usually win Grand Champion.
A Showa can be recognized by any of several easily identifiable characteristics. As already mentioned, three colors
must be present, but it is the placement of these colors that sets the Showa apart
from other three-colored fish. Black should appear somewhere on all parts of the
body - the head, trunk, and caudal (or tail) section. This black should appear
as large wrapping bands or bold patches, sometimes connecting with each other.
Traditional or Old-Style Showa
Kindai or Modern Showa
A Showa should begin (somewhere near the nose)
and end (somewhere near, but not into, the caudal fin) with black. Black also
normally appears at the base of each pectoral fin as an added enhancement. The
red should appear much as a kohaku pattern, that is, in artistic but simple patterns
throughout the body. A normal ratio of the three colors is 1/3 of each, but variations
from this are acceptable, and are largely a matter of personal preference.
a young Showa can be a tricky proposition. This is because the black doesn't usually
appear fully until 3 or 4 years of age. To complicate matters further, if a baby
showa has black that appears "complete", it may very well disappear, and reappear
years later in totally different locations!
For this reason,
it is best to select a showa with an attractive kohaku (red and white) pattern,
but with hints of black to come, which will appear as bluish shadows beneath the
A more recent development in the Showa variety is
known as "Kindai", or modern, Showa. This type of Showa is more delicate in appearance,
with more white than red or black, and with the black and red appearing in distinctly
different locations from each other rather than overlapping as on traditional
Whichever type of Showa you like, you should have
at least one of these in your collection. With loving care and a little bit of
luck, it may well become the King of your pond.
Bryan Bateman 2009