History of Longfin Koi
My account of the history of the longfin koi comes from Mr. Megumi Yoshida, a very well respected koi dealer from Japan for many years. I have had a chance to question a few other Japanese koi breeders and they have all agreed with the history.
A Japanese prince was a guest in Thailand when he was presented with some longfin Indonesian black carp. Upon his return to Japan, the black carp were turned over to one of the Prefectures. They then began breeding the Indonesian carp to nishikigoi (standard koi) in an attempt to produce new vigor and hardiness. After some experimentation, the offspring from the crosses were obtained by Mr. Suda. Mr. Suda produced some very impressive Longfin Kohaku, Showa, Utsuri and Sanke; he crossed these longfins into his standard koi bloodline. For a period of time, these longfins were very popular and demand was great. Then, it was declared that the longfin would not be allowed to compete in shows. This caused the popularity and demand for the fish to drop overnight.
After a time of near oblivion, the popularity of the longfin slowly grew in the United States. Customers were becoming more intrigued with the beauty of the long flowing fins and were less concerned with entering the fish in a show. Several breeders continued crossing the longfin with standard koi to produce a higher quality fish. A good number of fish were now being produced that were excellent representatives of many of the standard koi patterns. Because of demand, numerous Japanese and United States’ breeders are now producing longfin again. There is a lot of room for improvement, but the quality improves with each season.
Longfin koi are known by numerous names. Butterfly koi, water dragons, dragon carp and hirenagagoi (hire=fin, naga=long, goi=koi) are just some of the names used. They will never compete against standard koi in a koi show. Judging standards do not reward extremely long fins and shouldn't. Actually the finnage would be a demerit instead of a plus. Many shows are now including a special category for longfins which allows them to be judged amongst themselves under their own set of standards. This now gives a special place for longfins to be displayed and for more people to enjoy their unique beauty. As the popularity of longfin koi grows, their significance in koi shows may become greater. But, the majority of koi owners do not show fish and only own fish to enjoy their individual beauty. The flowing gracefulness of the longfin koi will make them popular with koi keepers long into the future.