Difficult it is to come away with any of these awards as the competition is so fierce. But it is also their love for their chosen hobby or pastime that gives them their enthusiasm to compete. If their entry receives a serious award ‘result’ for the owner it is a much greater ‘result’ for the ‘maker’ or breeder who can honestly advertise the fact that his personally selected Tategoi received the important award. In a way it’s a Japanese equivalent of ‘I told you so’ – however in each and every classification and size grouping only ONE of these ‘I told you so’s are ever attainable in any one show!
Answer – ‘Just because Jumbo Go-Sanke varieties always take the major awards in every Japanese show and smaller sized Go-Sanke entries usually take ‘Kokugyo’ (best in size – irrespective of variety awards) we must also remember that there are many other entries in classifications within sizes to judge at these prestigious shows. These entries also compete with others within their classification and size grouping for important awards’.
Question – ‘So you’re saying that classifications such as Hikarimuji; Kawarimono; Gin-Rin; Tancho and Koromo have no chance against Go-Sanke varieties even for the next most important awards to Supreme Champion’?
Answer – ‘Yes, I am saying that, for modern-day Japanese shows. But the varieties you mention and others still compete in a real show for other important prize awards, albeit not so prestigious as Go-Sanke varieties’. Perhaps it’s like boxing where the heavyweight class brings far more public interest and prestige than classes in the lighter weights.
Answer – ‘No, far from it, some Koi, in every size group and classification entered to a large show are no longer deemed as Tategoi. That is to say they have reached their peak for show purposes and no further improvements will take place. However every single one has been Tategoi at some time or other’ and that’s a fact’. Bear in mind that every single fry born in Japan during May or June and actually making it to the October harvest has been the breeder’s Tategoi for four culls. If this were not the case it would have already been destroyed with millions of others earlier in the year.
Question – ‘We have been led to believe that some examples of true Tategoi are ‘unfinished’ Koi, patterns have not yet developed, potential skin quality and volume has not yet come up to expectations, how can these hope to take serious awards’?
Answer – ‘These particular Koi you mention cannot hope to take serious awards NOW and, as a result, few are even entered until the breeder or owner considers that the time is just right. In truth, these are ‘secret’ Koi for next year; the year after or even ten years hence’.
Answer – ‘Why not? – a beautiful 25cms Purachina with perfect bone structure; stunning shine and lustre has the potential to grow and still retain these qualities, in just the same way a 85cms Chagoi with perfect volume and unblemished skin has the potential to retain these qualities at over one metre long – both these examples are, most certainly, still Tategoi’!
Answer – ‘They could well do so if we do not take into account other influences such as keeping and feeding techniques; production of even better examples; condition of Koi when entered and the judges present on the day’.
Answer – ‘Exactly what I say, ALL Koi can command a different price on a different day. You cannot seriously believe that you can simply generalise and put ALL Tategoi in ALL sizes and varieties at a common price. In the same way I cannot even begin to estimate prices until I see the specific Koi that you wish to price and, even then, I would have to ask the breeder. Like I explained in my book, you wouldn’t even consider going into a gallery selling rare paintings and ask the owner the question as to how much ‘per unit’ would his oil paintings cost as each and every one has a totally different price tag’!
Answer – ‘That’s better, size for size – Tategoi that fall outside of Go-Sanke varieties are, with a few, rare exceptions, far cheaper than those in Go-Sanke varieties. This is simply because Go-Sanke varieties always have the chance, one day, to take Kokugyo awards or even Supreme Champion awards at a major show. However EVERY breeder of the so-called ‘lesser varieties’ selects his tategoi very carefully as these are potentially more valuable than his common grade stocks, which form the vast majority of his overall stocks at any time. These are the Koi that are worth keeping and growing whereas the others are for selling as quickly, and by volume, as is possible.