The Taisho Sanke is a very old variety that will have arisen either directly from early Kohakus or from crossings of these with black Koi. No one knows who produced the first examples but the variety started to appear during the period 1912-1926, so this period is known as the Taisho era. The first Taishos will have been bred during the preceding era which is known as the Meji era (1868-1912). The Taisho was first publicly exhibited in 1915 and it is though the fish was about 15 years old at that time.
Sanke means tri-colored but in Japan today the term Sanshoku is used more.
A Taisho is basically a white Koi on which Hi and Sumi (black) patches are found scattered about. It is possible to produce Kohaku from Taisho and Taisho from Kohaku. Here should be no Sumi on the head on a Taisho, or more correctly not on a good Taisho. The sumi of this variety does not extend down to the abdomen. Ideally, a large shoulder patch is favored but is not a common sight these days. The extent of Hi is very variable and the majority of Taisho have much more Hi than Sumi.
Terms Used for the Sumi Markings
- Tsubo-sumi This is a Sumi patch on a white background and it is considered more desirable than the following alternative.
- Kasane-sumi Here the Sumi is on a Hi patch. These can look very attractive but in either instances much depends on the density of the color they are on, the shape of the hI and the size and shape of the Sumi. In many instances you will find the Sumi actually straddles both the white and the Hi.
- Ato-sumi This means late appearing. Sometimes a Sumi marking not seen in a young fry will slowly start to appear as the Koi matures. It may take up an isolated patch or it may merge with a smaller Sumi to create a big patch. This can make evaluation of this variety very difficult at the fry stage, or even as one-year-olds because the Sumi is not as stabilized as the Hi, so may break up, come together, or fade.
- Kuchibeni Red lips as in Kohaku. Beni means red so that there are three words that denote this color: Aka, Beni, and Hi. Beni is darker than Hi but the terms are not used in a strict sense of shade. Unlike the situation in Kohaku, a Taisho with Kuchibeni is appreciated.
- Aka Sanke This is a Taisho which has a Straight Hi. They are appreciated without being especially highly rated in spite of the fact that they are not common. It is though that they lack that touch of class when compared to other Taishos, but this is a matter of personal taste.
- Tsubaki Sanke Here the HI covers all the body and carries Sumi patches. It is the Taisho equivalent to the Akamuji of Kohaku and does not compete in Taisho classes but in those of the Kawarimono.
- Doitsu Sanke This is a Taisho with Doitsu scales and the comments made under Doitsu Kohaku apply equally to this variation.
- Doitsu Aka Sanke This is simply the Aka Sanke with mirror scales.
- Fuji Sanke The Taisho with silver specks on the hi of its head. Very desirable, very beautiful, but not as yet fixed in the Koi which mean it will disappear once the Koi is a year or two old.
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