Monday, April 9, 2012

Japanese Koi carp - The Origins, The History and Today

Koi, a Japanese word meaning carp. Today,
it is the Japanese that are revered as the authority
on Koi fish, as it is there continued breeding efforts
that have led to many of today’s
colour varieties and species.
In Japan the Japanese Koi Carp is a symbol of strength,
and it is the Japanese Koi Carp ‘NISHIKIGOI’ (brocaded Carp)
that are revered all over the world as the most stunning
of decorative pet fish. It is also widely known that all carp
are direct offspring of
black Koi known in Japan as ‘Magoi
But, the history of Koi goes back much further then
the widely popular Japanese Koi Carp of today.

Let’s dive in.
There are carp fossils in China dating back some
20 million years, and there are historical records
which point towards China as being the first to breed
carp for colour mutations. In fact, Prussian carp were
selectively bred leading to the development of
the ever-popular goldfish. Now goldfish were not
introduced to Japan until the 16th century.
In all accounts, it is recognized that Koi,
from the Latin name Cyprinus Carpio meaning Carp,
originated in the surrounding areas of the Caspian Sea.
Koi had an exceptional ability for survival and adaptation
to divers water and climate conditions, thus making
the domesticated species ideal for circulation to
new places including Japan. Legend has it that Koi
were introduced to Central Europe around the 14th century
by the crusaders. Later, Monks adopted this role continuing
the distribution of Koi throughout China and South East Asia,
all as a major source of food.
Now no one really seems to know exactly how or when Koi
were first introduced to Japan. Some have theories of Koi being i
ntroduced to Japan during an invasion by the Chinese, while others
speculate about Koi having been kept by a Japanese emperor
dating back to 200 AD. But, Koi history is still a mystery
from the 2nd to the 17th century as the investigation continues today.
As time moved on, historical commentary tells us that Japanese
rice farmers of Ojiya in the Niigata province, were raising common
Japanese Koi carp as a food source for sale in local markets.
These farmers became Koi breeders between the 1820s and
the early to mid 1840’s. This transformation occurred
when farmers began to notice random pigment irregularities
 in some of their Koi food stock. This is said to have led to the
development of Koi keeping as a hobby among local working class farmers.
These early Koi breeders began keeping these specially
colored carp as pets. Soon after, as a leisurely past time,
neighboring farmers would collaborate on breeding
their collection of colored Koi together.
Now up until the early 1900’s, only the farmers themselves kept
their colored carp as a private hobby and pastime.
But in 1914, during the Tokyo Taisho Exhibition,
Koi farmers/breeders brought their colored carp to the attention
of the Japanese public. It was then that the interest in Japanese Koi carp
exploded throughout Japan. With the national enthusiasm of Koi sparked,
and an ever-growing popularity of Koi, there began a kind of competition
among owners to breed new colors and species of Japanese Koi carp.
The hobby of Koi keeping eventually spread worldwide.


1 comment:

  1. many still don't know koi fish and gets confused about koi and godlfish