Koi is a Japanese word meaning "carp." These normally wild, gray fish were domesticated for use in ornamental ponds and backyard water gardens. They are properly called the “Nishikigoi” or “brocaded carp”, and are known and valued by enthusiasts for their striking variations in color. The Japanese Showa, also known as Showa Sanshoku is a member of the “Gosanke” category of ornamental Koi and is highly prized for it’s balanced pattern and sharp colors.


The Showa classification implies a black (Sumi black) koi with red (Hi-meaning sharp red patches) and white (Shiro) markings. The Showa is created by crossing a Kohaku Koi with a Shiro Utsuri variety. First produced in 1927, the Showa Koi was named for the Showa Emperor, who was in power during time. Originally, there was a different proportion between red (Hi) and white (Shiro)markings on this type of Koi. Over the years however, the amount of white markings have increased to the point that it has become difficult to discern the Showa from the Sanke variety.



A seasoned and skilled breeder or dealer should be consulted when choosing a Showa for purchase, as less knowledgeable breeders often mistake the two. A good Showa should have a nicely balanced pattern as well as sharp edges separating the colors. Showa Koi fish, are perfect for creating a vibrant and artistic atmosphere in the pond.. Their sharp colors add irresistible interest to any collection.


The Showa Koi are a hardy fish, and do well in most ponds. The Showa Koi fish are available from many different breeders and dealers, it is important to check their reputation before getting your heart set on this type of Koi.  A good bloodline will guarantee that the fish will keep its color for a long time.


Showa Koi


The Showa is a magnificent Koi. The white, red, and black all fit together perfectly. The beauty of this Koi is a true example of the Japanese breeder's ability to creature living works of art. A good Showa will have a nice balance of color. The pattern must be easy on the eyes and there should be sharp edges between the patterns. Showa are created by breeding a Kohaku with a Shiro Utsuri.


A cool Showa pattern is the sumi slash across the face.


Many people have a hard time telling the the difference between a Showa and a Sanke. "How do you tell the difference?" they ask. Here are a couple of pointers: 1. Showa have black on their heads, Sanke shouldn't have any at all. 2. Showa are black Koi, with a white and red pattern. Sanke are white Koi, with red and black patterns.






Showa Gallery

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Showa Showa Showa Showa



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