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TOKYO

Carp expo hopes to make waves with enthusiasts

by Tomoko Otake

Staff Writer

The love of nishikigoi, an ornamental carp with characteristically red and black patterns, has recently spread worldwide, spawning a variety of koi (carp) clubs, associations and periodicals in various regions and languages. Anyone interested in taking a peek into this vibrant hobbyist culture of keeping, breeding and appreciating nishikigoi might want to check out the 44th All Japan Nishikigoi Show, the nation’s largest exposition and competition of nishikigoi breeders, which will be held Feb. 2-3 in Tokyo Ryutsu Center in Ota Ward. The event is being organized by the All Japan Nishikigoi Promotion Association.

Nishikigoi started to be bred in the region of Yamakoshi, Niigata Prefecture in the Edo Period (1603—1867). People in this snowy, mountainous village, who had kept carp for food, at one time found a small number of fish that had gone through a mutation and featured bright colors such as red and yellow on their body, and started selectively breeding such fish. Today, there are 80 different varieties of the fish, which enthusiasts call the “swimming jewelry.” At nishikigoi shows, where owners of top-rated nishikigoi include people from Belgium, Germany, Thailand and Indonesia, the carp are judged on body conformation, colors and patterns.

The upcoming show will not sell carp but will have booths for hobbyists that will sell goods such as koi food, as well as T-shirts, tenugui towels and noren curtain dividers featuring nishikigoi illustrations.

The 44th All Japan Nishikigoi Show will take place at Tokyo Ryutsu Center in Ota-ku, Tokyo, on Feb. 2 and 3. Admission is free. For more information, call the organizer at (0258) 83-3345 or visit www.jnpa.info (with limited information in English).