In Depth Tategoi

Firstly, in my experience, no Koi picture, enhanced or otherwise, can give a true impression of the Koi as it actually is when the human eye views it, after the Koi has been placed in a shallow bowl and viewed from a distance of some 18”-24” away.

The skin quality is an extremely important factor here but light conditions, processing, printing and other necessary factors involved in producing a final image rarely shows the true ground of the Koi whereas other vital requirements such as body, shape & pattern are much more accurate.

Skin Quality Koi

Secondly, apart from the Koi breeders and professional dealers in Japan, there are very few outsiders who would actually recognise a true Tategoi swimming together with other Koi in a pond even if it jumped out of the pond and bit them!

Thirdly it is the breeder of the Koi who determines if the Koi is Tategoi or not and he bases this conclusion on modern Japanese show standards, requirements and tastes. To be able to assess all these points the breeder must be in total awareness of current trends in Japanese Nishikigoi Show judging decisions.

True Tategoi are purely sold and purchased for showing and winning awards – NOT for keeping hidden as a family pet – one can buy far cheaper Koi for these purposes!

The word ‘tategoi’ can not be found in any Japanese dictionary, it is only used by ‘Koi People’ and relates to particular examples of Koi produced by different breeders which ‘will become better in the future’.

This ‘hope/dream opinion’ originates from the breeder in question, as it is he who determines this originally from his own Koi produced.

It must also be pointed out clearly that one breeder’s tategoi may be another breeder’s tateshita (Koi he does not term as tategoi). The standards of tategoi vary greatly from breeder to breeder and so ‘generalization’ is not advisable.

To keep up-to-the-minute with Japanese show standards just about every Japanese breeder I know subscribes to monthly Nishikigoi magazines such as ‘Rinko’; ‘Nichirin’; ‘Nishikigoi Monthly’ and ‘Nishikigoi Mate’. These breeders particularly study show results and this is stored for future reference.

As the breeders have no knowledge, (and are also not the slightest bit interested in) what ‘Judges’ in other countries of the world are looking for, they simply aim their sights on producing a Koi which will, one day, they hope, take Supreme Champion at the All-Japan Show. Not a bad aspiration – if you’re aiming at something, why not aim for the best in the world?

I have included here, several questions that I have often been asked in relationship to this subject either at lectures I give or by email from other enthusiasts. The answers given are honest by today’s standards and, hopefully, will help to simplify and bring about a greater grasp of the subject of Tategoi which, understandably, is deemed by many to be a very complex area in the overall understanding of Koi.

On many occasions I have found myself totally baffled by certain ‘special Tategoi’ and I have had to try again & again to grasp the real explanations offered to me. In the same way I really understand many enthusiasts who have very real conflicts going on inside themselves in regard to this subject. I hope this page helps but much more learning and understanding can be had in one single day of intense ‘Koi watching’ during April or October simply by traveling around the major Japanese breeders.

Question iconQuestion – ‘What are Tategoi’? – What does the word actually mean? – Why do all serious Koi enthusiasts constantly wish to learn more and more about the word that they say, is the single most-important word in the whole Nishikigoi vocabulary?

Answer iconAnswer – ‘Tategoi’ translates as ‘Koi which will become good’ or ‘Koi which will become better’ – simple isn’t it?

For the breeder, however, it has a more significant meaning which is that of ‘Koi which will become very much more valuable than his volume stocks (tateshita) of many brothers and sisters of lesser or no potential in comparison to the potential of his few tategoi. The sale of these will hopefully earn him very good, extra profit’ – if his judgment is correct! Simply by the breeder classifying a particular example as ‘Tategoi’ does NOT guarantee that the Koi will eventually take an important award in a major show – this depends on the competition from other entries within the same size group and classification on the day of the show.

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