ago hi: (A-GO HE) The hi markings on the cheeks of Asagi or Shusui.
ago sumi: (A-GO SUE-ME) Black on the gill plate.
ai: (EYE) Indigo blue.
Ai-goromo: (EYE-GOR-OMO) A Kohaku whose red scales have blue semi-circular borders, giving the Koi a reticulated pattern (Koromo)

Ai-Showa: (EYE SHO-WA) See Koromo Showa (Koromo)
aka: (ACKA) Usually as a base color over the body of a koi, or large red markings like on the Aka Sanke ( red from orange)
Aka Bekko: (ACKA BAKE-O) A red Koi with black markings. (Bekko)
Aka Hajiro: (ACKA HA-JEER-O) A red Koi with white tips to the pectoral and caudal fins (Kawarimono).
Aka Matsuba: (ACKA MATS-BA) A red Koi with black ‘pinecone’ Matsuba pattern in the scales along the back (Kawarimono).
Aka Sanke: (ACKA SAN-KAY) A Sanke whose red marking extends the length of the body (Sanke).
Aka-muji: (ACKA MOO-GEE) A non-metallic red Koi (Kawarimono).
akame: (ACKA-MAY) An eye with a red iris. Most often seen in Ki-goi.
akebi: Light blue.
a-ra-goi (also know as: a-ra-go-ke): Doitsu with the mirror scales scattered unevenly over the body of the koi.
Asagi: A gray-blue Koi with red along the sides, cheeks and in the fins.
Asagi Ma-goi: An early ancestor of the modern Asagi.
Asagi Sumi-nagashi: (ASAGI SUE-ME NA-GOSH-HEE) A Koi whose black scales are outlined in white. More commonly known as Sumi-nagashi. (Kawarimono).
Ato sumi: (A-TOE-SUE-ME) Late developing black markings.


barbels: Koi possess two pairs of barbels, one on each side of their mouth used to locate food. 

Bekko: (Bake-O) Matte white, red or yellow Koi with black markings.
beni: (BENNY) Red (usually as a base color over the body of a Koi).
Beni Haijiro: (BENNY HA-JEER-O) Red koi with white tips on its pectoral fins (Kawarimono). 

Beni Kujaku: (BENNY COO-JA-COO) An orange-red Kujaku with red markings all over the body (Hikari Moyomono).

Beni-goi: (BENNY-GOY) A non-metallic red Koi, resembling Akamuji but with a deeper red coloration (Kawarimono).
beta-gin: The whole surface of each scale sparkles.
bito: Love

boke: Blurred or faded effect to color or pattern.
Boke Showa: A form of Showa, with blurred, grayish sumi (Showa). 

bozu: Too little hi on the head giving a bald effect.
bongiri: An area without pattern near the tail joint, considered a flaw. 

budo: Literally, ‘grape’.

Budo Goromo: A Koi with a purplish, grape-like pattern over the red (Koromo).
Budo Sanke: A Koi with a pattern resembling that of Budo Goromo combined with solid black markings (Koromo).
Bunka Sanke: A blue Sanke with shiny pectoral fins. Seen only as a baby Koi. (Kawarimono).


cha: (CHA) Brown
Cha-goi: (CHA-GOY) A non-metallic light brown or tea colored Koi (Kawarimono). Chogorou –


dangara: A stepped pattern on the body of a Koi, also known as Danmoyo.
danmoyo: A stepped pattern on the body of a Koi, also known as Dangara.
Dainichi: (Die-Knee-Chee) Dainichi Koi Farm was founded by Minoru Mano. Most of the famous Japanese koi farms are owned and operated by families that go back several generations in koi farming. I have a lot of respect for Mr. Mano. He started breeding koi when a young man and went on to become the top breeder in Japan. Unfortunately, in November 1998, Mr. Mano passed away. It was a great loss to the koi community. I’m sure his fame will live on in some of the beautiful Kohaku, Showa and Sanke he bred. The first picture I saw of Minoru San was in the book “Koi Kichi” and he was dressed in sweat pants and a tee-shirt. I could really relate to that since that’s the way I dress most of the time here at the farm.
dia: (Die-Ya) Diamond
Diamond Ginrin: A form of Kinginrin where the scales sparkle like diamonds.
Doitsu: (Doytz) German – Refers to a Koi with large mirror scales along the dorsal and lateral lines only (mirror carp) or completely scaleless (leather carp). The mirror and leather carp were imported to Japan from Germany and bred to the Japanese Koi to get these varieties.
Doitsu Kujaku: (Doytz Coo-Ja-Coo) A platinum Koi with red markings over its body and black markings in the scales along the dorsal and lateral lines only (Hikari Moyomono).
dohmaki: Pattern extending below the lateral line.


fukurin: The area of skin around the smaller scales of good metallic Koi. The smaller the scales, the greater the lustre.
fuji: A highly metallic lustre on the head of a young Koi, visible as minute bubbles. Most often seen in good young Sanke and occasionally, Ogon and Kohaku.


gin: (As in begin) Silver
Gin Bekko: Basically a metallic Shiro Bekko (Hikari Moyomono).
Gin Kabuto: A black Koi whose scales have silver edges.
Gin Matsuba: A metallic silver Koi with a black ‘pinecone’ Matsuba pattern in the scales (Hikari Utsurimono).
gin rin: (Gin Ling) Silver scale
Gin Shiro: A metallic Shiro Utsuri (Hikari Utsurimono).
Gin Showa: A metallic Showa with a silver lustre (Hikari Utsurimono).
Ginbo: A black Koi with a silver metallic sheen.
ginrin: The more commonly used term for Kinginrin, referring to sparkling scale types.
Ginsui: A metallic Shusui with a silver lustre (Hikari Moyomono).
goi: Carp
gosai: (Go-Sigh) Five years old.
Goshiki: (Gosh-Key) A five color Koi, on which white, red, black, light and dark blue are mixed to give a purplish appearance (Kawarimono).
Goshiki Shusui: A doitsu, non-metallic blue Goshiki (Kawarimono).
goten-zakura Kohaku: A cherry blossom patterned Kohaku.


hachi Hi: An early ancestor of the modern Kohaku.
Hageshiro: (Hag-Ay-She-Roe) A black, non-metallic Koi with white stripes on its pectoral fins and a white head and nose (Kawarimono).
Hajiro: (Ha-Jeer-O) A black Koi with white tips on its pectoral fins (Kawarimono).
Hana Shusui: A form of Shusui, also known as a flowery Shusui (Shusui).
hanatsuki: A hi pattern that reaches the mouth.
Hariwake: (Harry-Wa-Kay) Koi with two colors, one of which is platinum, the other metallic orange, gold, or yellow (Hikari Moyomono).
Hariwake Matsuba: A silver and yellow metallic Koi with a black pattern in each of its scales (Hikari Moyomono).
Hi: (HE) Red (markings).
Hi Asagi: An Asagi whose red marking extends over the lateral line (Asagi).
Hi Showa: A predominantly red Showa (Showa).
Hi Shusui: A Shusui whose red pattern spreads up from the belly and covers the back (Shusui). 

Hi Utsuri: A black Koi with red markings (Utsurimono).

Hi-botan: A Koi resembling Bekko, derived from Utsuri lineage (Kawarimono). 

Higoi: A red Koi, an early ancestor of the modern Kohaku.
hikari: Metallic.
Hikari Mujimono: The classification for single-colored metallic Koi.

Hikari Moyomono: A classification including all metallic Koi with two or more colors, except metallic Utsuri and Showa.
Hikari Utsurimono: Metallic Utsuri and Showa.
hon sumi: Literally, ‘genuine sumi’, referring to the black Sanke markings on a Koromo Sanke. 

Hoo Aka: A Koi with red gill plates. An early ancestor of the modern Kohaku.

Hookazuki: A black carp with red cheeks. An early ancestor of the modern Kohaku.


Ikeage – Ikeage is a ritual performed several times a year by Koi breeders. It literally means, “mud pond harvest.” It is a joyous ceremonial event that is meant to showcase the year’s production and growout of Koi.

inazuma: (In-A-Zoom-A) Lightning (A zig-zag pattern.)
ippon hi: A continuous pattern, without variation.
iroage To bring out color. This is acheived by good koi husbandary. 

Iromono: The collective name for all metallic Koi.
Isumiya: (Iz-Oo-Me-Ya) Famous breeder.


Jinbei: (Jin-Bay) Sanke bloodline.


kabuto: A cap or helmet, referring to Koi with a head color different from that on the body. 

kado: Edge
kado-gin: A form of Kinginrin where only the edges of the scales are iridescent.
kage: (Car-Gay) Literally, ‘shadow’ or ‘phantom’, referring to Koi with a blurred, reticulated black pattern over the white or red.

Kage Hi Utsuri: A Koi whose red and black Utsuri pattern is complemented by a kage pattern over the red (Kawarimono).
Kage Shiro Utsuri: A Koi with the basic black and white Utsuri pattern and kage pattern over the white (Kawarimono).

Kage Showa: A Koi with the basic Showa pattern and kage pattern over the white (Kawarimono).
Kamisori (ka-mi-so-ri): straight line kiwa across a scale, kamisori means razor, and it describes the razor-like edge to the kiwa which runs through individual scales.
Kanoko: Literally, ‘fawn’, referring to the dappled red pattern found on some Koi (Kawarimono).
Kanoko Kohaku: A Kohaku with dappled red markings.
Kanoko Sanke: A Sanke with dappled red markings.
Kanoko Showa: A Showa with dappled red markings.
karasu: Literally, ‘crow’. Black (overall color).

Karasugoi: Black Koi with white or orange bellies (Kawarimono).
kasane sumi: Sumi that appears on the hi. (As opposed to Tsubo sumi, which appears on the white skin.)
kata moyo: A pattern on only one side of the body.
kata zumi: Black on the shoulder
Kawarimono: (Car-Wa-Ree-Mon-Owe) A classification of all non-metallic Koi not included in any other group. A new exception is the Kikokuryu. It is a metallic koi derived from crossing the Kumonryu with a Kikusui. It was placed in the Kawarimono class. It may change.
ki: (Key) Yellow.
Ki Bekko: A yellow Koi with black markings (Bekko).
Ki Matsuba: A yellow Koi with black ‘pinecone’ Matsuba markings in the centre of the scales (Kawarimono).
Ki Shusui: A yellow Shusui with a greenish dorsal. A very rare variety (Shusui).
Ki Utsuri: A black Koi with yellow markings (Utsurimono).
Ki-goi: A non-metallic bright yellow Koi (Kawarimono).
Kikisui: (Keek-Sui) Literally, ‘water chrysanthemum. Basically a doitsu platinum Kohaku (Hikari Moyomono).
Kikokuryu: (key-ko-ker-u) This variety was developed by a breeder named Aoki. He crossed a Kumonryu with a Kikisui. The result was a koi that has a lot of the characteristics of the Kumonryu but is also metallic. Further developments have produced the Kin Kikokuryu and Beni Kikokuryu. (Kawarimono).
kin: Gold
Kin Hi Utsuri: A metallic Hi Utsuri (Hikari-Utsurimono).
Kin Katubo: A black Koi whose scales have gold edges; now considered valueless.
Kin Ki Utsuri: A metallic Ki Utsuri (Hikari-Utsurimono).
kin rin: (Kin Ling) Gold Scale
Kin Showa: A metallic Showa with a gold luster (Hikari Utsurimono).
Kin-Fuji: See Platinum Kohaku.
Kinbo: A black Koi with a gold metallic sheen.
kindai: (Kin-Die) Modern
Kindai Showa: A Showa with a predominantly white pattern (Showa).
kinginrin: A normally scaled Koi that has gold or silvery mirror-like deposits on each scale. 

Kinsui: A metallic Shusui with a gold luster (Hikari Moyomono).
Kinzakura: A metallic Gotenzakura (Hikari Moyomono).
kiwa: The definition between hi and white markings.
Kobayashi: (Ko-Buy-Ashy) Early Showa breeder
Kohaku: (Co-Haku) White Koi with red markings.
koi: (Coy) Carp – This is the name most often used when referring to Nishikigoi.
Koinobori: (Koi-No-Bore-Ee) Carp Streamers (flags)
kokesuki: Scales that are visible because the color is thin.
komoyo: Small hi markings.
Konjo Asagi: A dark blue fish. An early ancestor of the modern Asagi.
Koromo: Literally, ‘robed’, referring to a group of Koi whose hi pattern is outlined in a darker color.

Koromo Sanke: A Koi with the Koromo reticulated over the hi marking, and the sumi markings of a traditional Sanke (Koromo).
Koromo Showa: A Koi with the markings of a Showa overlaid with the Koromo pattern (Koromo).

Koshi-nishiki: The result of a cross between an Ogon and a Sanke. Now known as Yamato- nishiki.
kuchibeni: (Coo-Chee-Benny) Red, lipstick-like markings.
Kujaku: (Coo-Ja-Coo) A platinum Koi with hi markings covering a large proportion of the body and with Matsuba patterning in the scales (Hikari Moyomono).

Kujaku Ogon: Another name for Kujaku.
Kumonryu: (Come-On-Ree-You) Literally, ‘dragon fish’. A black doitsu Koi with changing white marking on its head, fins and body (Kawarimono).
Kuro-Ki-Han: The original name for Shiro Utsuri.
Kuzugoi: (Coo-Zoo-Goy) Junk Koi


ma Wild.
madoaki: Scales with ‘shadows’ under the skin.
Ma-goi: Wild carp. Common black carp, the ancestor of modern Nishikigoi.
makibara: A red pattern that wraps around the body.
Manzo: (Man-Zoh) Kohaku Bloodline
maruten: (Mar-Oo-Ten) Crown. A Koi with a separate red marking on the head (e.g. Martuen Kohaku). Also used to describe such a head marking (i.e. Maruten spot / maruten).
Maruten Kohaku: A Kohaku with a separate red marking on the head and additional red on the body.
Maruten Sanke: A Sanke with a separate red marking on the head and additional red on the body.
Matsuba: (Mats-Ba) Pinecone. A Koi with black markings in the centre of the scales on the body. This Matsuba pattern is also known as a pinecone pattern.
Matsunosuke: (Mats-Nos-Kay) Sanke bloodline
Matsuba Ogon: Another name for Kin Matsuba (Hikari Mujimono).
Matsukawa-bake: A non-metallic black and white Koi whose pattern changes with the time of the year and water temperature. (Kawarimono).
Meija era: A period in Japanese history, 1868-1912.
menkaburi: (Men-Cab-Oo-Ree) Hood. An early Kohaku with a red head.
menware: The traditional Showa head pattern, where the black pattern divides the red marking on the head.
mesu: (Mace) Female
midori: (Mee-dor-ee) Green
Midori-goi: A very rare Koi, bright green in color, with black or silvery scales (Kawarimono). 

mizu: Light blue.

Mizu Asagi (EYE) Very light Asagi.
mono: Single
moto: Or ‘original sumi’, i.e. black markings that are apparent in fry and remain visible on the adult Koi.
motoguro: (Moe-Toe-Goo-Roe) Black color on shoulder joint extending into the pectoral fins. 

muji: Self-colored (literally, ‘nothing else’).


narumi: Mid blue.
Narumi Asagi: The typical light blue patterned Asagi (Asagi).
nezu: Gray
Nezu Ogon: A silver grey Koi with a dull metallic luster (Hikari Mujimono).
nezumi: Gray
nibani: Secondary hi, which appears and disappears depending on such factors as water condition and temperature.
nidan: (Kee-Dan) Two step.
nidan Kohaku: A Kohaku with two hi markings on its body (Kohaku).
Niigata: An area on the Northwest coast of mainland Japan, the birthplace and pillar of the Koi- breeding industry.
Nishikigoi: (Nee Shee Goi) Brocaded carp.
nisai: (Nee-Sigh) Born last year.


Ochiba-shigure: (O-Chee-Ba-She-Goo-Ray) Autumn leaves on water. A blue-gray Koi with brown pattern (Kawarimono). Usually reffered to as only Ochiba (O-Chee-Ba).
ogon: (Oh-Gone) Single coloured metallic Koi (Hikari Mujimono).
ojime: (O-Gee-May) A small white area before the tail. Completes the back.

omoyo: Large hi markings.
operculm: The hard plate covering the soft fleshy gills.
orenji: Orange.
Orenji Hariwake: A silver Koi with metallic orange markings (Hikari Moyomono). 

Orenji Ogon: A deep orange metallic Koi (Hikari Mujimono).
osu: (Ose) Male
oyagoi: (O-Ya-Goy) Adult breeder koi.


pongoi: (Pon-Goy) Good grade koi.
parapara: A scattering of hi
pearl ginrin: A solid sparkling area on each scale, also known as Tsuba-gin or Tama-gin. 

Pearl Shusui: A Shusui with silver scales (Shusui).

Platinum Kohaku: A metallic white Koi with an overlaying hi pattern. Also known as Kin-fuji (Hikari Mujimono).
Platinum Ogon: A metallic white Koi, also known as Purachina (Hikari Mujimono).
Purachina: (Pu-ra-Chin-A) Platinum. A white metallic Koi, also known as a Platinum Ogon (Hikari Mujimono).


Sadazo: (Sad-As-Oh) A Sanke lineage, with bright hi markings and small sumi markings that do not overlap the hi.
Sakura Ogon: A metallic Kanoko Kohaku (Hikari Moyomono).
sandan: (San-Dan) Three step.

Sandan Kohaku: A Kohaku with three hi markings (Kohaku).
sanke: Literally, ‘tri-color’. White Koi with red and black markings. (Sanke).
Sanke Shusui: A doitsu Sanke whose pattern is underlaid with the blue back of the Shusui (Kawarimono).
sanshoku: Tri-colored as in Showa Sanshoku
sarasa: Red spots on the back.
sashi: The underlying black or red markings on a Koi. These markings often stabilize when the Koi is mature.
Sensuke: (Sen-Skay) Kohaku bloodline.
shimis: Small black specks, which sometimes spoil the appearance of the white or red markings of Koi.
shiro: White.
Shiro Bekko: (She-Roe-Bay-Co) Tortoise shell. A white Koi with black markings (Bekko).
Shiro Muji: (She-Roe-Moo-Gee) White, non-metallic, without pattern.
Shiro Matsuba: A white Koi with a black ‘pinecone’ Matsuba pattern in the scales on the back (Kawarimono).
Shiro Utsuri: (Shee-Roe-Ut-Sue-Ree) White reflection. A black Koi with white markings (Utsurimono).
Shiroji: White skin or white canvas
Shiromuji: A white non-metallic Koi (Kawarimono).
Shirogane: An early name for Platinum Ogon.
Shochikubai: (Sho-Cheek-Oo-Buy) Pine, bamboo, and plum. A metallic Ai-goromo (Hikari Moyomono).
Showa: (Sho-Wa) also referred to as Showa Sanshoku: Black Koi with red and white markings. 

Showa Shusui: A Koi with the strong sumi and pattern of a Showa and the underlying blue of a Shusui (Kawarimono).
Shusui: (Shoe-Suey) Autumn water. Doitsu Asagi.
shusui bire: The hi equivalent of Motoguro – hi at the base of the pectoral fins of Shusui 

Soragoi: (Sore-A-Goy) A gray-blue, non-metallic Koi (Kawarimono).
subo-sumi: (Sue-Bo-Sue-Me) Black falls on white skin only.
sui: Water (rippling effect).
sumi: (Sue-Me) Black (markings).

Sumi-goromo: An Ai-goromo whose koromo pattern is overlaid with solid black markings (Koromo).
Sumi-nagashi: A Koi whose black scales are outlined in white.


Taisho era: The period of Japanese history 1912-1926 under Emperor Taisho.
Taisho Sanke: (Tie-Show-San-Kay)The full name of Sanke, which are white Koi with red and black markings produced in the Taisho era.
takai: (Tak-Eye) Expensive
Taki Sanke: An Asagi whose blue body color is divided from the red markings on its sides by a white line (Sanke).
tama-gin: See Pearl Ginrin.
Tancho: (Tan-Cho) Red cap. A red spot on the head (used when the Koi has no other red on the body, in contrast to ‘maruten’.)
Tancho Kohaku: A white Koi with a red spot on the head only. (Tancho).
Tancho Sanke: A Sanke whose only red marking is a head spot (Tancho).
Tancho Showa: A Showa whose only red marking is a head spot (Tancho).
tategoi: (Ta-Tay-Goi) A koi that the breeder keeps because he thinks it will improve and be worth more money at a later age. This is the most misused word in the koi language. At one time a dealer could not buy these koi, but due to demand the koi breeders are selling some in the early spring. They don’t come cheap!
tateshita: What a koi becomes when the breeder decides to sell it. It is no longer tategoi. tejima (te-ji-ma) The black stripes on pectoral fins of Sanke and Bekko
tobi: (Toe-Bee) Jump. In koi it refers to koi that jump in size by eating their siblings. It is very important to remove these koi when sorting fry from a spawn.
tobi-hi: Small red markings, resembling splashes of paint.
Tora Ogon: (Literally, ‘tiger’ Ogon). An Ogon with black markings (Hikari Mujimono).
Torazo: (Tor-As-O) Sanke bloodline.
tosai: This year’s fish. (Born this year)
tsubo sumi: (Sue-bo-sue-me) Black that appears on the white skin (as opposed to the Kasane sumi, which appears on the red markings.)
tsuba-gin: (Sue-ba-gin) See Pearl Ginrin.


urishi: Deep dense black having a lacquered appearance and sharply defined edges. 

utsuri: (Ut-Sue-Ree) reflections.
Utsurimono: Black Koi with white, red or yellow markings.


Yagozen: (Ya-Go-Zen) A Kohaku lineage, developed in the 1950’s.

yamabuki: Literally, a Japonica bush with pale yellow flowers. Used to refer to a koi with yellow color.
Yamabuki Hariwake: A platinum Koi with metallic yellow markings (Hikari Moyomono). 

Yamabuki Ogon: Metallic solid yellow. (Hikari Mujimono).

yamato: (Ya-matt-toe) The result of a cross between a Sanke and a Fuji Ogon. One of the two varieties now known collectively as Yamato-nishiki.
Yamatonishiki: ((Ya-matt-toe-nish-Key) Japanese brocade. A metallic white Koi with red and black markings, (a metallic Sanke).

yondan: (Yon-Dan) Four step.
Yondan Kohaku: A Kohaku with four red body markings.
yonsai: (Yon-Sigh) Four years old.
Yotsushiro: Literally, ‘five whites’. A black Koi with white head, pectoral, dorsal and caudal fins (Kawarimono).


Zukinkaburi: An early Kohaku with a red forehead.