In Depth Tategoi

Koi of this class are, generally, not available to either see or purchase anywhere outside of Japan. As a result most overseas collectors have never had the opportunity to see these Koi with their own eyes. In view of this, IF, they were given the rare opportunity of seeing this class of Tategoi swimming in my ponds at my shop for sale, some would hardly give them a second glance – many others would openly state they were junk – I said the same thing when I first saw similar stocks!

Sadly, many sellers use the word tategoi as a ‘sales ploy’ where just about every Koi they have on offer is described as this. Please use your own discretion when coming across those who may try to impress you with this term.

Some years ago, I proved this very point with several examples which I had purchased in Japan at the specific request of some of my customers both in the UK, USA and Germany. Before delivering the Koi I kept them in various ponds at my shop together with my own stocks whilst we were all busy preparing for our annual ‘Tategoi Weekend’. Some were in our main pond whilst others were scattered in smaller ponds. At Infiltration all the staff and some collectors who just might as well be staff – (judging by the amount of time they spend with us) – made a point of looking closely at these ‘insipid and very expensive’ Koi that Dennis Wordsworth & I had found and were raving about. Each remarked how dull they looked in the ponds in comparison to the new, gleaming stocks that cost a fraction of the price. But they all remarked, after a close inspection of them in a bowl, how all examples had a skin the quality of which they had never seen before. These were true Tategoi, Koi I would love to stock for sale and Koi that Japanese collectors and breeders would sell their souls for but it’s going to be many years before these are accepted outside of Japan – except by those already smitten!

When the Tategoi Weekend came around we had many visitors from all parts of the country who came to see our new stocks. I spent most of the time bowling Koi that customers wished to see closer, in the entire weekend but not one single customer asked me to show them any of these special Koi which were already sold. On several occasions, when a large group of customers were present, I made a point of catching one of these Koi to show them. As I moved the net towards a particular Koi some commented ‘No, Waddy – we don’t want to see that one, show us this one instead!’ Undeterred, we placed the Koi into a shallow bowl and asked everyone to look at a ‘proper Koi’, some refused and walked away, others knelt down and looked and looked and looked! Eyes began to roll up-wards inside their heads and heated discussions and superlatives – some unprintable – were heard to be uttered! Some remarked how insipid the Koi looked in the pond whilst, in the bowl, they couldn’t believe it to be the same Koi. A few remarked that it was the highest quality Koi they had ever witnessed. For my part, I enjoyed every second, seeing their eyes widen and watching them trying to catch their breath!

I really do hope I have made an improved attempt in trying to explain the true facts and the magic of Tategoi. However, before you even consider trying to find such Koi for your collection make sure you are confident that your system is producing superb water conditions including heating (if you live in colder climes). Be also confident that your management and feeding techniques are adequate and, if these requirements can be met, take great enjoyment in witnessing how your chosen Tategoi develops into all your dreams and, hopefully, more – Good Luck!

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