Koi fish show what you need to know

The kind and purpose of the show

There are two kinds of the show; one is the show held by Nishikigoi dealers and the other is by amateur koi keepers.

Either show has purpose to have a Nishikigoi contest and to cultivate powers of appreciation.

Morever, the dealers can take advantage of the show to sell their fish and the amateur keepers can learn various techniques of breeding Nishikigoi.


The history of the show

It is said that the first Nishikogoi show was held by professional breeders of Niigata around 1912.

The main Nishikigoi producing center is old Yamakoshi including Higashiyama, Takezawa & Ota.

The Nishikigoi  Breeders Association was organized in every village.

Then they were united into one Yamakoshi Nishikigoi Breeders Association. From 1919 a show has been opened once a year, sponsored by each village in turn.

In 1951 Ojiya Nishikigoi Breeder’s Association was established and it heald a show once in a year.

In September, 1956, the first Nishikigoi show was held with the Agricultural Festival and the price of the Agriculture and Forestry Minister was established. The first prize of the Agriculture and Forestry was awarded to the writers Kohaku at present Niigata Nishikigoi show is opened every ear, sponsored by the Higashiyama District and teh Takezawa District alternately.

In December, 1968, all Japan Nishikigoi Promoters Association was organized for both breeders and dealers of the Nishikigoi. It opens all Nippon Nishikigoi Show with

the prize of the Prime Minister. The first show was held at Hotel New Otani in Tokyo.

As for the amateur shows, the Hiroshima District was the first one that opened it. The first show was in 1961, but it was carried out by the dealers in Hiroshima with amateur keepers koi.

The first amateur show, in the strict sense of the word, was held in 1962 in Oita.

All the Nishikigoi societies in Western Japan were united into Western Nippon Airinkai in 1965.

The first show was opened in Rakutenchi, Beppu with the prize of the Prime Minister and that of the Agriculture and Forestry Minister.

The writer’s Showa Sanshoku was awarded one of them.

The show has been developing greatly. AT last in 1968 the society covered all Japan and Zen Nippon Airinka was established.

The first show was grandly held in Nagasaki.

In 1976 the 12th all Nippon Show was held at the Festival Square of Expo Memorial Park in Osaka.

The entry was 3656 fish. That was the biggest show we had ever had. The show was also international with many attendants from

the United Sates, England, Canada, Mexico and the Republic of Korea and Taiwan.

Beside its all Nippon show the Zen Nippon Airinkai opens shows of cities, prefecturers and districts i order to increase the members.

The three biggest Nishikigoi shows in Japan are the All Nippon Show of the Airinkai, the All Nippon Nishikigoi Show of the All Japan Nishikigoi Promoters Association and the show of the Zen Nippon Nishikigoi Dealers Association.

The All Nippon Nishikigoi Show accepts amateur keepers koi as well as professional breeders and dealers koi.

The last one is held only for the members of the Association and the judges for the show are chosen from the members of the Airinka. They always open auction after the show.

Chairman Kuroki giving an opening address

Chairman Kuroki giving an opening address in koi show

15th Niigata Nishikigo Show (Niigata)
15th Niigata Nishikigo Show (Niigata)
7th Nippon Nishikogoi Show (Tokyo)
7th Nippon Nishikogoi Show (Tokyo)


12 th All Nippon Show of the Airinakai (Osaka)
12 th All Nippon Show of the Airinakai (Osaka)

Koi judging Exercise So Calif Chapter

Classification of koi for judgement

As it is impossible to judge koi of all kinds and sizes at once, koi are grouped according to the kind and the size

Seven groups were established according to their sizes. The size of a koi is decided by measuring it precisely from the mouth to the end of the tail

Size 1. Up to 18 centimeters

Size 2. Up to 25 centimeters

Size 3. Up to 35 centimeters

Size 4. Up to 45 centimeters

Size 5. Up to 55 centimeters

Size 6. Up to 65 centimeters

Size 7. Up to 75 centimeters

Size 8. Over 75 centimeters

The classification differs with koi keepers societies.

The simplest classification for the kind is according to Hikarimonos and non-Hikarimonos.

In the more detailed classification, koi are grouped into the Kohaku, the Taisho-Sanke (including the Bekko) the Showa family (teh Showa-Sanshoku, the Utsurimono other Kawarimonon the Shusui family the Shusui teh Asagi, the Kinsui, the Ginsui and the Ogon, the Orange-Ogon, the Yamabuki-Ogon, the Hariwake


The classification of the Zen Nippon Airinkai is as follows.

measuring koi fish
measuring koi fish


  1. Taisho-Sanke




6.Asagi, Shusui








judging koi fish
judging koi fish

The Art and Science of Koi Judging. Read More. Common Koi Varieties. Color. When rating color, a judge looks at the depth and intensity of the color, as well as the appearance of the color throughout the body of a fish. Deportment. Pattern. Conformation. Preparing Fish For A Show.

Regulations of the entry and awarding

The show should be worked with the entry fee instead of the donations. Usually there is no limitation of the number of the entry in order to collect money for the show.

When the level of each members koi is greatly different in a small group, it is better to limit the number of koi entered for a show by a member.

The system of gradual increase of the entry fee is suitable in this case.

Those who enter many fish in the show pay high entry fee.

It is importantn that every member equally participate in the show.

On the contrary the System of gradual decrease is better to be taken, when the level of each members koi is not so different.

It will encourage people to enter as many fish as they can.

The more the number of koi is the more enjoyable the show becomes.

It will also help koi keepers to increase their power of appreciation.

In a big show like the All Nippon Show

high-class koi gather it is not necessary to limit the entry.

High entry fee would naturally limit the number of the entry.

Though a person who enters many fish may become a winner in a small show, it is not necessarily so in a big nationwide show.

In general the entry fee is from 200 yen to 5,000 yen. As the Nishikigoi show is not a business, it is better to reduce the entry fee as much as possible, only the deficit being avoided.

Sometimes a show is supported by the donations, but it should be run only by the entry fee in principle.

Some shows are run by the annual membership fee, but considering that not all members enter the fish in the show, it is still reasonalble to manage it with only the entry fee.

As the purpose of the amateur show is not making money but establishing deep friendship between the members and increasing the power of appreciation, it is important to settle

a reasonable entry fee to avoid the deficit and to run it smoothly without any trouble.

The accounts of the show should be always kept clear.

Deciding the champions is done as follows in the case of the Airinkai

a reasonable entry fee to avoid the deficit and to run it smootly without any trouble

The accounts of the show should be always kept clear.

Deciding the champions is done as follows in the case of the Airinkai

There are the grand champion on in all, the first, the second and the third place for each size and each kind and prizes for good fish which are not elected champions

First koi are grouped according to the kind and the size, Thirteen kinds and eight sizes have been settled in the Airinkai.

Therefore there are 104 groups in all

As the first step for deciding the champions, some excellent koi are chosen from each group.

They are to number one-third or one-fourth of all the koi in a show.

If the total number is 3000,1000 or 750 koi are chosen first.

The second step is to decide the first, the second and the third place in each 104 groups.


They are the champions of each kind and each size.


So there are 104 first place koi, 104 second place koi and also 104 third place koi.


All the other koi in the group chosen at the first step will be awarded prizes as good koi

Receiving a price at koi show
Receiving a price at koi show

The third step is to decide

the first, the second and the third place according to each size, 1 to 8, among 312 koi which have won at the second selection. There are eight koi chosen for each place. The prizes are mostly awarde to the Kohaku, the Taisho Sanke and the Showa Sanshoku.

Mr. Jun Se Kyu receiving a prize
Mr. Jun Se Kyu receiving a prize

They are the three strongest families of all

The fourth step is the final judgement to decide the grand champion in all.

The competitors are 24 koi selected at the third step. Only one among them is to be awarded the grand championship in all.

Full of Trophy
Full of Trophy

Though the All Japan Show awards only one koi the grand championship, some district shows have the second, the third or the fourth grand champion

Most of the grand champions are koi of size 7 or 8. The Kohaku usually pre dominates.

There is a contest of getting high marks between individuals or groups. For example, a koi which is awarded the first place is counted as 5 marks, the scond place gets 3 marks, the third place gets 2. Koi in a good koi group get 1 each Each participant sums up his marks and winners are decided



Show using Sanmoh in a big pool
Show using Sanmoh in a big pool
Koi Show using vinyl pools
Koi Show using vinyl pools

Vinyl pools or Sanmoh in a big pool are useful. Airation is present oxygen shortage is necessary in the former pools.


Water should be examined before hand. City water must be kept for a day before koi are put in it lest its bleaching powder should harm them.


Koi are to be carefully treated

Here’s a video guide also on how to transport koi fish long distance

Watch now

Koi exhibited in the show should be carefully treated so that koi should not be stolen, jump out of a pool, and suffer from oxygen shortage.

When koi are taken out of a pool, they must be treated gently by men’s hands or by a plastic bag, but never by a net which might hurt them.

Sending in of kois
Sending in of kois
Picking up koi show prize winner koi fish
Picking up koi show prize winner koi fish
adding medical oxygen
adding medical oxygen
bagging the koi fish in vinyl bag
bagging the koi fish in vinyl bag
live koi fish transportation
live koi fish transportation
placing the koi fish in the box
placing the koi fish in the box
transporting koi fish by plane
transporting koi fish by plane
transporting koi fish through car
transporting koi fish through car

Sources: Manual to Nishikigoi

By Takeo Kuroki





Author: Giovanni Carlo

I am a koi fish keeper and breeder a husband of beautiful wife Maybel and beautiful daughter May Carl I have been in fish keeping hobby for over 35 years. Like many kids in the 80's We catch fish in the rivers and canals and kept it in the "pasong" local visayan name for pond. or a large mayo bottle since We don't have aquariums yet on that time. decades later their is a small petshop open in my place and that starts me from buying aquarium and fishes that are sold in the pet store decades later start growing goldfish and koi fish until today.

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