We have interviewed leading koi breeders to get a clear understanding of the koi they grow and how this is accomplished. Enjoy our visit with Hoshikin koi Farm, now in their third generation of breeding the famous Kohaku variety.
[History]The farm is located in Ojiya City, Niigata, near Yamakoshi which is the cradle of koi farming. They have been in business more than 65 years. Currently the second and third generation farmers, Katsushige Hoshino and Katsuyuki Hoshino are operating the farm. They breed mainly the Kohaku and Showa varieties on approximately 10 hectares. The reputation for breeding outstanding Kohaku keeps their name in the mind of Kohaku keepers. They annually produce a wide variety of Kohaku including: Nidan Kohaku, Sandan Kohaku and Inazuma Kohaku
[Charms of Kohaku]
Many people choose the Kohaku as their favorite because of the simple combination of red and white patterns. Unlike other koi, only when the brightness, location of the red(Hi), sharpness of the edges of each pattern and superior look of the white skin are ideal can the koi be considered a champion-grade Kohaku.
[Breeding Objectives of Katsuyuki Hoshino]The Hoshikin Koi Farm works diligently to produce would-be koi show champions. Each year the koi quality required to be a show winner increases making their job to produce champions much harder.
Since the outbreak of KHV, larger entries are usually placed in an individual pools and examined individually instead of by direct comparison. So having a strong impact in their appearance is essential to win in a koi show. Making a strong impact in the judges' eye is essential to be a koi show winner.
[Exporting Hoshikin Nishikigoi]Hoshikin's exports of Nishikigoi has steadily increased with time.
The young koi selection process
After several culling operations, the number of saleable young fish is usually around 8,000 per variety.
Hoshikin Kohaku gathering for their Saki-Hikari® feeding
A Truly splendid offering of koi.
Q.What is your breeding policy?
[The criteria for selecting young fish]With two-year-olds koi, we focus on markings and pattern and for three-year-olds only those with lustrous body are selected. Usually at the age of three, the potential of the koi is quite apparent using our keen eye and vast experience.
[Our secret weapon is how we raise the koi]When our koi reach three of four years old, we place them in a natural environment (our field pond) for at least two years. During their stay in this pond, they fully experience hibernation during two winter seasons and can grow freely to develop their true and full potential during the warmer weather months. This method is unique to Hoshikin Koi Farm.
[Summer body building]Feeding koi the right diet and quantity in August and September is indispensable for desirable growth. We feed Saki-Hikari® Growth to accomplish our growth objectives during this period.
[Stocking field ponds with a small number of koi]We keep only a small number of koi in each field pond to allow them ample room to build volume. Our koi parents are also kept in the field ponds.
A large Niigata field pond in full blossom
We feel Saki-Hikari® is a necessity for rapid growth and the development of first-rate koi.
[Taking care to avoid inbreeding]When considering koi parents, we have to avoid mating a couple which are too closely related in their bloodlines. Today's Hoshikin Kohaku lineages are the fruit of crossbreeds.
Q.Which koi food do you feel is ideal for your farm?
[The kind of food]We feel the food as an important factor in developing the ideal characteristics of each koi. We primarily use Saki-Hikari Balance for the grow out of young fish. On the contrary, we are trying to use a moderate amount of Saki-Hikari Color Enhancing on the younger koi, for we have learned that if a koi is going to develop Hi (red color) that usually occurs as it grows older.
[Our thinking regarding the influences on koi development]Developing award winning koi is a job that requires many skills. We feel 50% of the eventual outcome depends on the koi lineage (what the parent fish offer), 20% on breeding skill and environmental factors and as much as 30% relates to what the koi are fed. Today, many farms have improved their breeding skills and upgraded the offspring. For us, we spend lots of time to choose the most appropriate food for our purpose. Now almost 100% of Hoshikin's Nishikigoi are fed HikariŽ, helping us to raise the best koi to offer hobbyists around the world.
[We know nutritional excellence matters and constantly search for that perfect diet]For show koi, one of our primary goal is growing koi as large and as fast as possible. For this purpose we have found the HikariŽ series to be extremely reliable. It has been three years since we changed our primary food choice to Saki-HikariŽ. We have found that our koi aggressively eat it and that the color enrichment works very well and as advertised. Of course this doesn't stop us from pushing them for further improvements in order to make our koi grow much more rapidly. After all, everyone loves a large and beautiful championship koi, and today I believe Saki-HikariŽ is the most reliable diet to help our koi develop their full potential.
OUR MOST TECHNOLOGICALLY ADVANCED KOI DIETS