The Asagi variety is much older then a lot of other Koi varieties, and goes back at least 160 years, so it is one of the original Nishikoi. It is a mutant of an earlier, the Magoi or black koi.
From this black Koi a variant appeared which had blue scales bordered by a lighter blue, or by white, to form a net like covering across the dorsal area. These were crossed with Kohaku and thus a Koi with red on its cheeks and in its fins, coupled with the blue dorsal pattern came into being. This is an Asagi.
Viewed from above, they have a dorsal area that extends from the tail to a point just forward of the gill openings and which is covered with a reticulated pattern of scales which are bordered by a much lighter color, this a light blue through white. The head should be pure white or blue.
This is rarely seen because in either instance one can see the bony structures beneath the skin, or there is a dark Sumi patch beneath the outer layer, and these tend to give a dirty sort of look to the head.
Sometimes the head may appear a yellow-brown and this is no less a feature which spoils the head but which is very common.
Good Asagi scales have bright fukurin (edges), creating a clear mesh pattern.
Asagi Colors & Patterns
Asagi have rows of precisely aligned, regular scales, called kokenami, each with a half-moon shape of clear, unclouded dark blue in the center, surrounded by paler blue. The scales create a mesh pattern with bright edges (fukurin). There are no scales on the head and the Asagi is completely bald.
The Ai ranges from dark ultramarine to very pale blue and, irrespective of the shade, must appear bright, clear and uniform. The ai is complemented with hi, which is a bright, fiery red. Hi is present on the cheeks (ago-hi), often with white patches; to be impressive, the cheek markings must be symmetrical. On the body (hara-hi) the hi should preferably lie below the lateral line and not overlap the blue scales.
The pectoral and ventral fins also have hi, which should be restricted to the base of the pectoral fins (Shusui-bire). Hi on the mouth (kuchibeni) and the dorsal or tail fin will not distract from the Asagi if it has other outstanding qualities.
The blue coloration of the Asagi varies in shade but a lighter blue is preferred. The pattern of the escalation is distinct; darker blue in the center, lighter blue at the edges.
In colder waters, Asagi tend to become very dark, even black, in color. This is undesirable and make the Koi worthless with regard to showing.
Black specks often appear over the head and body of the Koi and these are also detrimental to the appearance of this variety.
Asagi will increase their hi year after year, selecting a yong Asagi with a small hi pattern confined to the lower abdomen is best. If the hi in a yound Asagi is too dominant (rising high onto the flanks), it could indicate that the hi will spread beyond the desired limits, even turning the Asagi into an Aka-Matsuba. Avoid hi markings on the head that spread beyond the eye and toward the center of the head, and those along the cheek that create an ungainly "full beard".
Reject Koi with scarring on the scales (which might never heal properly) or missing scales (which take a long time to regenerate and might not have the same shade of color).
Some years later a German carp, japanese koi fish, Doitsu, was hybridized with the Asagi and the result was a Koi which had a row of black or blue large scales along its dorsal ridge. If it has red on either side of these Doitsu scales, or white, this is a Shusui. These date back to about 1910 and are credited to professor Akiyama who used Asagi-Taisho Koi for the Doitsu cross.
The characteristic feature of Shusui is a clear blue back, on which a line of large, dark blue scales are neatly arranged with a complementary hi pattern. Most points of appreciation for Asagi apply to Shusui.
The blue ground should be reminiscent of an "autumn sky" in shades of ultramarine or royal blue. The bald head is a pale blue color. The blue ground must be of even quality and hue from the neck to the tail and from the dorsal line to just below the lateral line. The paler the blue, the more sharply it offsets the dorsal scalation and hi pattern. Neither the head nor back may have any spots or blurs.
Four Pattern Types are Acknowledged:
There are a number of variations on the Asagi basic pattern and these are as follows:
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