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Not only do the Japanese beautify their gardens with pines, ponds, small bridges and stone lanterns; they also add drama to the water features with the koi.

Koi (鯉?) or more specifically nishikigoi (錦鯉?), literally "brocaded carp", are ornamental domesticated varieties of the common carp (Cyprinus carpio) that are kept for decorative purposes in outdoor ponds and water gardens. They are also called Japanese carp.
Koi were developed from common carp in Japan in the 1820s, and are still popular there because they are a symbol of love and friendship. In Japanese, 'koi' is a homophone for another word that means 'affection or love', hence their lasting popularity.

A variety of colors and color patterns have since been developed; common colors include white, black, red, yellow, blue, and cream.

It is interesting to note that since koi are domesticated common carp (Cyprinus carpio) that are culled for color, they are not a different species and will revert to the original coloration within a few generations if allowed to breed freely.

Common carp were first introduced into Japan by way of China between 400 to 600 years ago. Common carp were first bred for color in Japan in the 1820s, initially in the town of Ojiya in the Niigata prefecture on the north eastern coast of Honshu island. By the 20th century, a number of color patterns had been established, the common colours being white, black, red, yellow, blue, and cream. The most notable is the red-and-white Kohaku.

The outside world was not aware of the development of color variations in koi until 1914, when the Niigata koi were exhibited in the annual exposition in Tokyo. At that point, interest in koi exploded throughout Japan. The hobby of keeping koi eventually spread worldwide. Koi are now commonly sold in most pet stores, with higher-quality fish available from specialist dealers.

The major named varieties include about 20; I have included the ones I think feature in my photo::

Kōhaku (紅白?) A white-skinned koi, with large red markings on the top. The name means "red and white;" kohaku was the first ornamental variety to be established in Japan (late 19th century).[7]
Taishō Sanshoku (or Taisho Sanke) (大正三色?) Very similar to the Kohaku, except for the addition of small black markings called sumi (墨?). This variety was first exhibited in 1914 by the koi breeder, Gonzo Hiroi,
. Utsurimono (写り者?) A black koi with a white, red, or yellow markings. The oldest attested form is the yellow form, called "Black and white markings" (黒黄斑 Kuro Ki Han?) in the 19th century, but renamed Ki Utsuri (黄写り?) by Elizaburo Hoshino, an early 20th century koi breeder. The red and white versions are called Hi Utsuri (赤写り?) and Shiro Utsuri (白写り?) respectively. The word utsuri means to print (the black markings are reminiscent of ink stains).

INCREDIBLY FISHY STORY OF HANAKO:
Koi can live for centuries. One famous scarlet koi, named "Hanako" (c. 1751 July 7, 1977) was owned by several individuals, the last of whom was Dr. Komei Koshihara. Hanako was reportedly 226 years old upon her death. Her age was determined by removing one of her scales and examining it extensively in 1966. She is (to date) the longest-lived koi fish ever recorded.

The above info was put together from sections gleaned from Wikipedia. As for the photo, it was taken at the Imperial Park, part of which was shown in my previous shot.

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Additional Photos by Klaudio Branko Dadich (daddo) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2957 W: 103 N: 5102] (22944)
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