Go Sanke consist of a group of 3 varieties of Koi. These are the most popular varieties and win most of the prizes at the Koi shows around the world.
1. Kohauku
2. Sanke
3. Showa
Below is a discussion of each of the 3 varieties.

Kohaku are very popular and will be seen in most koi ponds, especially a true hobbyists pond. These Koi are a challenge to get good and we all enjoy a challenge. Kohaku are very striking with their red and white coloration.
They have different stepped patterns. The stepped patterns maybe Nidan (2 step), Sandan (3 step) or Yondan ( 4 stepped).
When you buy a smaller Kohaku, the red called “hi”, will be more of an orange colour than a red. But over time the colour will deepen with age and become darker red.
When you are buying a Kohaku look for:
• A pure white ground on the koi.
• Bright hi (red on older Koi)
• Ojime, which is a definite white gap between the last hi marking and the start of the tail fin.
• A white region around the mouth of the Koi.
• The hi must not cover the eyes to deeply.
• Good kiwa
• Good red markings on the back and smaller towards the tail.

A Sanke is a tricolour Koi, with red and black markings distributed as a Pattern across the koi’s white body.
When buying a Sanke look for:
• A snow white background
• Bold balanced stepped Patten.
• A separation between the head markings and the first body marking.
• A Balance sumi (black) pattern.
• Bluish, black sumi with lacquer like luster.
• Tejima in the pectoral fins. This is one to three short sumi lines that run along the pectoral fins.


This is also a tri coloured koi, but the difference is that this is a black Koi with markings of white and red (hi). The showa can be distinguished from the sanke especially regarding the sumi marking on the head. Showa are the most boldly patterned of the Koi varieties. The showa can have y-shape menware and v-shaped menware on the head of the Koi.
When buying a showa look for:
• Strong sumi markings on the head. (menware)
• Bold and bright red (hi) on the head to offset the sumi markings.
• Thick motoguro at the base of the pectoral fins.
• Clear edging to all the markings
• A good pattern across the body and wrapping from the abdomen upwards to the back.
• Good body shape and white markings that are not too large.

Angela Beckx
Koi @ Jungle

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