Tancho Koi Fish
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A Tancho Koi is a perfectly centered circular marking that lies evenly between, but not touching the eyes. It should not extend forward beyond the nostrils nor back onto the first scales of the shoulder.

A roundish hi marking in addition to other hi markings is known as maruten.

They are named for the Manchurian crane (Grus japonensis), a white bird with a red cap. The marking is also reminiscent of the Japanese flag, which shows a red sun (Hinomaru) on a white field. The single red spot on the head is also reminiscent of the national bird of Japan.

Tancho markings of various shapes (square, diamond, oval, heart, cross, and blossom) are acknowledged but are not as highly prized as the perfect round hi marking. The ideal Tancho mark must be confined to the head and may not touch or extend over the eyes, lips, cheeks, or shoulder. Its position must be in perfect balance to the head and the marking must be thick, even, and bright with sharp kiwa. The white back ground must be thick, pure, and without any distracting blemishes so that the Tancho is sharply etched for maximum effect.

Koi patterns are random and very few Tancho patterns emerge from a single Kohaku spawn. Finding a perfect Tancho is like finding a needle in a hay stack. When one is found the Koi producers and Koi brokers won't let them go.

The three classified Tanchos are:

  • Tancho Kohaku
  • Tancho Showa
  • Tancho Sanke

Any Koi variety displaying an isolated symmetrical head marking can be called Tancho, but only the Gosanke varieties (Kohaku, Sanke, and Showa) will compete in the Tancho class at a Koi show.

Tancho Showa

Tancho Showa This is the Showa Sanke in which the only red is on the head, forming the Tancho spot.

A Sumi head marking must touch or run through the Tancho without obscuring or spoiling it.

Ideally, the Sumi on the head should not intrude on the Tancho patch but, very often it does. If the Sumi forms a V on the head without touching the Tancho patch then this is very favored.

Tancho Kohaku

The Tancho is a fixed idea of beauty which is hard to achieve. A Kohaku with the Tancho as the only hi marking. Because the Hi mark is the only color on the Kohaku, it places great importance on the quality of the white, which must be really pure, like virgin snow. The white body color is called Shiroji, or white ground. Any stains would immediately distract one’s attention from the Tancho mark, so these are bad faults.

The red should be a crisp crimson color.

In addition to a perfectly white body, the pectoral fins should be unblemished.

Tancho is a non-metallic variety.

Tancho Sanke

Tancho Sanke will have the sumi spots of a Bekko, but they must be located only on the Koi's body starting on the shoulder. No sumi should intrude onto the head.

A Sanke with Tancho as the only hi marking. The sumi pattern must be well defined in the desired style for ShiroBekko. Some Tejima in the pectoral fins will create balance.

Tancho Head Markings

Variations of Tancho head markings are gaining in popularity and acceptance by Koi hobbyists. Since the ideal circular marking are seldom found.

An oval Tancho is almost as valued as a perfect round marking. Unconventional markings such as flowery, diamond, or heart shaped patterns are acceptable alternatives, although symmetry is particularly important in these types.

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