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Nishikigoi Terms





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This Glossary is Koi, Plant and all things relating to the Pond.


Pronunciation Guide:

A - pronounced ah, as in paw or draw EI - pronounced aye, as in bay, play
E - pronounced eh, as in spend or friend OI - pronounced oye, as in toy, boy
I - pronounced ee, as in bee, he, tree OA - pronounced oh ah, as in boa
O- pronounced oh, as in tow, oak OO - pronounced oo, as in who, boo
U - pronounced uu, as in moo, who UI - pronounced wee, as in tree, bee
R - sometimes pronounced like the letter "d" JI - pronounced gee, as in bungi
AI - pronounced eye, as in pie, fly JY - pronounced jah, as in draw, jaw
AO - pronounced ah oh RYU - pronounced droo, as in Andrew



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Word(Pronunciation)Meaning
Sabi (SAH bee) Appearance of depth to the skin of scaled Koi.
Sadazo Sanke One of the better known Sanke lineages, with bright Hi markings and small Sumi markings that do not overlap the Hi.
Saiseirin (sigh' say reen) Reappearing scale. Scale that returns after having been lost in an accident or injury. Saiseirin could be good or bad, depending if the scale grew back to be the original color.
Sakame Asagi (saa kah' meh ah' sah gee)Reverse Asagi. Koi that has white cores in the scales, and indigo netting, which is the exact opposite of the scale pattern on a Narumi Asagi.
Sakura OgonAnother name for Platinum Kohaku regarded as Hariwake variety. The light pink sashi is regarded as the color of a petal of sakura referring to cherry blossam.
San bu (SAHN boo) Size 3
Sandan(sahn' dahn) Three-step pattern, a Sandan Kohaku has three Hi plates.
Sandan KohakuA kohaku with three Hi markings.
Sankaku Hi (sahn kah coo' hee)A triangular Hi plate. Used especially to describe Hi on the tail section.
Sanke(sahn' keh)Short for Taisho Sanshoku or Taisho Sanke , a Kohaku pattern with black spots, Sumi does not appear on the head or below the lateral line. When called Sanke, it refers to Taisho Sanshokul.
Sanke shusui A Doitsu Sanke whose pattern is underlaid with the blue back of the Shusui.
Sanke Sumi (SAHN keh SOO mee) Black typically found in small well defined patches over the body of the koi, but not on the head. 'Leopard-spot' pattern. Also occurs on Bekko.
Sanmai sashiThree scale sashi
Sansai(sahn' sigh)Between 2 and 3 year old Koi.
Sanshoku A three-colored Koi, referring to either the sanke or the showa.
Sarasa (saa rah' saa)Old name for Kohaku. Still used once in a while.
Sashi(saa' she)Short for Sashikomi. Term that refers to the blurry line between the front of a Hi plate or Sumi and the Shiroji. The blurry pinkish color is caused by the end of the Shiroji scale overlapping the beginning of the Hi scale. When the Hi is of sufficient quality, the Hi shows through the Shiroji and appears as a blurry pinkish line at the front edge of each Hi pattern. Sashi refers only to the Kiwa towards the head and does not occur in the Kiwa towards the tail. Ideal Sashi is about one scale wide. Nimai Zashi is 2 scales wide. Sanmai Zashi is 3 scales wide.
Sashi zumi (saa' she zoo' me)Short for Sashikomi. Sashi is not only seen in Hi but also in Sumi. Term that refers to the often blurry line between the front of Sumi and the Shiroji. The blurry bluish color is caused by the end of the Shiroji scale overlapping the beginning of the Sumi scale. The Sumi shows through the Shiroji and appears as a blurry bluish line at the front edge of each Sumi pattern. Sashi refers only to the Kiwa towards the head and does not occur in the Kiwa towards the tail. Ideal Sashi is about one scale wide. Nimai Zashi is 2 scales wide. Sanmai Zashi is 3 scales wide.
Secretion Substance produced by glandular organs.
Seigyo(say' gyow)Mature Koi. Nishikigoi more than 6 years old. At Koi shows, Nishikigoi are entered into a class only by size and not by age.
Separation MethodA system for evaluating a pair of Koi by comparing sections of each one; the number of sections is not important - what is important is comparing the same section of 2 Koi; these sections may include:
  • Head - including the gills
  • Shoulders - (right behind the head)
  • Back - (sometimes this section includes the shoulders) from shoulders to the beginning of the dorsal fin
  • Trunk - the part under the dorsal fin
  • Tail - starting behind the dorsal fin but not including the caudal fin

Sometimes the body section refers to everything except the head and the tail sections

Septicemia Presence of living, reproducing bacteria in the blood stream. If allowed to progress, the bacteria may cause an overwhelming infection and death.
Serous Membrane Membrane lining a serous cavity.
Serum Any serous fluid, especially that lubricating a serous membrane.
Seware (se h' wah reh)Diving the back. A Hi pattern that has most of the Hi on the side with wide Shiroji on the back. A Hi pattern that looks as if it were dividing the Koi's back.
Shiagari (she ah' gah ree)Finish. Koi become more beautiful or less beautiful as time goes by. If a Koi finishes well and is beautiful, we say it has good Shiagari. If a Koi does not finish well, then we say it has poor Shiagari.
Shibun(she boon') A very tiny weakpoint.
Shiki bu (SHEE kee boo) Size 7
Shimegai (she' meh guy)Stunt the growth. The process of keeping Koi small by stunting their growth. Shimegai can be accomplished by feeding them a very small amount of food and keeping them in limited space so the pheromones that limit growth are present.
Shimi(she' me)Stain. Refers to stray sumi spots. Shimi is a single dot, while Jyami refers to a group of small Sumi spots.
Shinsui(sheen' sue ee)Fresh water. We could say "The pond needs Shinsui."
Shiro(she' row)White.
Shiro BekkoA white koi with black markings.
Shiro MatsubaA white koi with a black pine-cone ( Matsuba) pattern in the scales on the back.
Shirobou (she' row bow)White Nishikigoi. Many white Koi without patterns are culled. However, a Koi could become white when it was 2-3 years old. Also called Shiro Muji.
Shirogane (she row' jee)An early name for platinum ogon.
Shiroji (she row' jee)White ground or background, a color.
Shiro Muji (she row' moo' jee)Regular scaled white Koi with no pattern, what Kohaku become if they lose their Hi color.
Shiroji Utsuri (she row' jee)A black Koi with white markings.
Shita Zumi (she' tah zoo' mee)Sumi beneath. Sumi that appears to be hiding below the surface of the Shiroji. Sumi that is barely visible under the surface of the scales. Shita Zumi could emerge or disappear. Kage Zumi refers to Sumi that has started to emerge and is seen on the skin as a shadow.
Shitsu (SHEET soo) Quality, or nature of skin, including shiroji, hi, sumi, etc.
Shochikubai A metallic Ai goromo.
Showa(show' wah)Short for Showa Sanshoku or Showa Sanke, a black Koi with red and white patches named for its deveropment in the Showa era.
Showa Period (SHOW wah period) Japanese era from 1927 though 1989.
Showa Sumi (SHOH wah SOO mee) The type of black pattern found in stripes and bands all over a Koi, including the head.
Shusui(shoe' swee) Doitsu Asagi, blue Koi with red on the belly and up the sides, clear white head with an indigo or black row of scales on either side of the dorsal fin, may have Motoaka and Hi in the dorsal fin. Variety created from the breeding of Doitsu black Koi with Asagi. Kichigoro Akiyama in Tokyo first succeeded in breeding the Doitsu version of Asagi in 1910. Because this achievement added a Doitsu version to this variety, soon other scaled Koi varieties also became more diverse, with fantastic new possiblilities.
Slime Coat Often used as syn. for glycocalyx. See also: glycocalyx
Sokusen (sow coo' sen)Lateral lines. This term refers to the "lateral line" on both side of the Koi. The line divides the Koi in half lengthwise. We can see the pattern above the Sokusen, but now below it, unless we view the Koi from the side. The Sokusen is used to sense low frequency vibrations in the water.
Sora (sow rah')Sky.
Soragoi(sow rah' goy)Blue -gray Koi.
Squamous Scale-like tssue pattern.
Stress Sum of all biological phenomena that result from forces that disrupt equilibrium or produce strain. When stress is above the koi's tolerance level it will produce pathological change.
Subcutaneous Beneath the layer of the skin. SYN: hypodermic.
Sui A ripple effect.
Sumi(sue' mee)Black, represents power, sometimes Zumi when with another word.
Sumigiwa (sue' mee gee' wa)Black border. Border line between the black pattern and the other colors.
Sumi goromo An Ai goromo whose Koromo pattern is overlaid with solid black markings.
Sumimono (sue' mee mow no)Sumi class. General name for Nishikigoi that have Sumi such as Taisho Sanshoku (Sanke), Showa, Kumonryu etc.
Sumi nagashi A koi whose black scales are outlined with white.
Susu Zumi (sue' sue zoo'mee)Soot Sumi. Low-quality Sumi that is like soot which is simply black without luster. Also called Nabe Zumi. The opposite term is Urushi Zumi.
Symbiosis Two organisms of different species living together in close association. Different associations may exist: neither harm each other (commensalism); beneficial to both (mutualism); one harmed, other benefited (parasitism).










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