Five Tips for Identifying Sanke Koi and Showa Koi - POND Trade Magazine (2023)

Five Tips for Identifying Sanke Koi and Showa Koi - POND Trade Magazine (1)

Many hobbyists love tricolor koi and Showa koi (white, red, and black three-color koi), but they often have difficulty distinguishing between one type of koi. I am often asked, "Is it a white fish with red and black markings, or a black fish with red and white markings?" How to distinguish Sanke Koi from Showa Koi? "I also overheard, "What are the rules of Heiyu?" Koi head? "Are all Sanko's fins white?"

Sanke and Showa Koi have many similarities. In addition to sharing three colors, both are non-metallic members of the Gosanke group, made of Doitsu and Ginrin scale variations. To make the water even more cloudy, Sanke koi and Showa koi look very similar when young and can take several years to fully mature. So it's no wonder that most people find it difficult to tell them apart, especially at first glance.

You may even have some tricolor koi in your retail tank and just want to identify which koi are Sanke and which are Showa. With so many similarities, it can be quite a challenge to distinguish the two strains. In this article, you'll find five tips for distinguishing Sanke Koi from Showa Koi and helping to properly identify each species. This will increase your confidence in your koi knowledge and give your clients the sound advice they are looking for.

>> Related Content | Five Easy Ways to Identify Koi

1. Use color rules to identify Sanke Koi and Showa Koi

Five Tips for Identifying Sanke Koi and Showa Koi - POND Trade Magazine (2)

The number of different colors is the first clue to correctly naming the breed. Sanke and Showa both have three colors - white, red and black. Each color on the fish should be bright and well defined, with clearly distinguishable differences between colors. The depth of color is also important: no matter where it appears on the koi, it should be a consistent hue. Each color should appear solid, dense, and free of other colors.

Sanke: white and red with black accents

• White or Shiroji (Schier-Row-Gee) is the basic color of Sanke. It runs from the nose to the tail, including the fins. It should be clean, bright and free of any discoloration.

• The red color on the sanke is called hi (he) or beni (ben-ny) in Japanese. Beni's orange hue is stronger than true fire engine red. Moraceae usually have large reddish-orange spots that form the basis of their color pattern, while a white base is often visible between the Beni's spots.

• Black or Sumi (Sue-Me) is the rarest color on Sanke. Generally, sankers have black spots or mere spots, which are relatively small compared to the prominent Penny's spots. Ink can be thought of as an accent color, while red and white are the main colors of the tricolor.

Showa: Black with red and white accents

• Showa Koi have a dense aqua base color and a smooth appearance. The black color extends the entire length of the body and extends sparsely into the fins. Pure black is very important to identify Showa.

• Red often appeared in blockbusters in the Showa era. Intense and dense reds are preferred and are best suited to the face, back and tail areas.

• Areas of white paint interweave with ink to break up the black background and create interesting patterns.

2. Where is the pattern?

Sample location is also an indicator of the correct variety. Sanke and Showa have very different types of motifs. Determine if the pattern is primarily on the back of the fish or if it wraps around the body. Does it appear mostly above the lateral line or does the pattern extend along the sides to the koi's belly?

Sanke lines are usually located on the back of koi and are limited to just above the lateral line. However, Benny's point sometimes extends down, slightly below the sideline.

Showa, on the other hand, have distinctive thick patterns that wrap around the fish's body, often extending along the lateral line to the abdomen and surrounding the body. If you see a koi with a distinctive thick pattern around it, you can bet it's a Showa fish.

Here's an easy way to remember this trick: Showa ends with "-wa", and its mode becomes wraparound. In general, pay attention to the packaging color if the variety name contains a "w".

3. Inky Accents: Small or Broad?

The size and shape of the melanin are additional clues to accurately identify each koi species. If you want to determine whether it's a Sanke or a Showa, evaluate the sumi mark.

Small, infrequent, or isolated dark spots indicate three grams. A single circular black spot appears randomly above the lateral line of the koi's back to emphasize the beni pattern. Individual ink spots are clues to identify the three families.

] = Taisho Sanke is commonly known as Sanke. The Sanke Koi is a tricolor non-metallic koi with a white base color with high points and prominent inky markings. Pigment appears only above the lateral line. Inky streaks may appear on the fins.

Large patches or wide stripes of black paint appeared on the Showa. The bold black markings are quite eye-catching - even bold compared to the Sankoe's plain ink spots. The ink on the Showa should be visible the entire length of the fish. Sumi ribbons are often stitched into interesting shapes, sometimes reminiscent of lightning. You can be pretty sure you're dealing with a Showa when the ink takes on a thick or connected band.

4. Look at his face

Five Tips for Identifying Sanke Koi and Showa Koi - POND Trade Magazine (4)

The koi's face or head can also provide clues to the correct species. The most obvious difference between Sanke and Showa is the ink on the head.

Generally speaking, there are only two colors on Sanke's head - white and red, and there is no ink color. The face should be white, as this is where the important beni pattern begins.

In contrast, you should see all three colors, including black, on the Showa Head. The strong Showa pattern starts on the face. In fact, the ink usually begins at the mouth and spreads to the cheeks, and there may even be ink on the pectoral fins.

5. Check the pectoral fins

Generally, the pectoral fins of trifins are the same clear, bright white ground color as the base. The dominant color of the pectoral fins is white; however, some inky stripes can appear here and there to emphasize the pattern. Inking on only one pectoral fin is not uncommon and is perfectly acceptable in all three families.

In addition, Sumeru can often be seen on Showa's pectoral fins. This feature is called Motogoro (cut toe row). Some Showas have motogoro, a solid piece of paint where the fins join. Some have streaked blotches that spread outward, rather than a single patch that clings to the body. This feature pairs well with bold Showa motifs. However, Hongoro was not always present throughout Showa.

Special note: kin-die showa (kin-die showa) is a more modern version of showa. It has more white areas than the traditional Showa. However, as with most Showas, there will still be interlocking sumeru and red bands.

In general, there are five things to look out for when identifying Sanke or Showa. However, not all koi have these characteristics. Age, water quality, and ancestry play an important role in the development of each of the above traits.

The Showa or Showa Tricolor is also a tricolor non-metallic koi, but has a predominantly black body with areas of red and white markings that extend below the lateral line. Showa may have ink stains on the base of the fins and on the head or face. Their colors come in stripes rather than spots.

>> Visit our website for more information on how to identify this and many other breeds.

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