Showa-Sanshoku, great Koi variety!

History and Development of the Showa Sanshoku

The Showa Sanshoku, commonly referred to as Showa, is a koi variety that originated in Japan in the late 1920s, during the Showa era. This variety evolved from the Kohaku, with the addition of black (Sumi), creating a vibrant tri-color combination. Initially, Showa koi were characterized by their dominant black coloration. Over the years, breeding techniques have enhanced the balance and clarity of the colors, resulting in the elegant Showa seen today.

Key Contributors to the Development

  1. Tomiji Kobayashi: A pivotal figure in the development of the Showa. Kobayashi is renowned for his contribution to refining the Sumi pattern, giving the Showa a more balanced appearance.
  2. Jukichi Hoshino: Another influential breeder, Hoshino played a critical role in improving the Hi (red) pattern on the Showa, contributing to better definition and vibrancy.
  3. Eizaburo Hasegawa: Known for his work with the Kohaku, Hasegawa also contributed to the development of the Showa by refining techniques that enhanced both the Hi and the Shiroji (white).
  4. Minoru Mano: As one of the modern breeders, Mano has contributed to the evolution of the Showa, focusing on improving body shape and overall health of the koi.

Classification and Varieties of Showa

Showa koi are classified based on their color patterns and distribution. In addition to the traditional Showa, this classification includes:

  • Kindai Showa: Characterized by a greater proportion of white, offering a more contemporary look.
  • Tancho Showa: This variety features a distinctive red spot on the head, set against a backdrop of black and white patterns.
  • Maruten Showa: Possesses a unique red “crown” on the head along with the standard tri-color patterns.
  • Menware Showa: Recognizable by the black pattern crossing the nose bridge, contributing to a strong and dynamic appearance.

The development of the Showa Sanshoku is a testament to the meticulous art and science of koi breeding. This variety remains a favorite among koi enthusiasts worldwide, thanks to the efforts of these and many other dedicated breeders over the years.

Difference between Showa en Taisho Sanke.

Showa Sanshoku
Showa Sanshoku
Taisho Sanke
Taisho Sanke

Showa Sanshoku (often simply referred to as Showa) and Taisho Sanke are both prominent varieties of koi, beloved by koi enthusiasts worldwide. While they may appear similar at first glance, there are distinctive characteristics that set them apart.

The Showa Sanshoku, which emerged in Japan during the Showa era (late 1920s), is known for its striking tri-color pattern. The unique aspect of the Showa is its dominant black (Sumi) base, combined with red (Hi) and white (Shiroji) markings. This black color often extends across the back and intermingles with the other colors, creating a complex and balanced pattern.

On the other hand, the Taisho Sanke, which originated in the Taisho era (early 20th century), also displays a tri-color pattern but with a distinctly different color distribution. In Taisho Sanke, white is the dominant base color, with strategically placed red and black markings. The black color in Taisho Sanke is more limited and typically appears only as smaller spots, known as Sumi, on top of the white and red colors.

While Showa Sanshoku is characterized by a more pronounced black presence and a more complex color distribution, Taisho Sanke is distinguished by its clear white base with harmoniously placed red and black accents. Both varieties are appreciated for their beauty and colorful appearance, but it’s these subtle differences in color and pattern that make them unique in the world of koi.”

Bloodlines Showa Sanshoku


  1. Kohaku Bloodline: This lineage was developed from the Kohaku koi, one of the oldest and most popular koi varieties. The emphasis was initially on developing the red (Hi) and white (Shiroji) patterns, with the addition of black (Sumi) markings later to create the Showa.
  2. Tomiji Bloodline: Developed by Tomiji Kobayashi, a key figure in the history of Showa koi. This bloodline is known for its refined Sumi patterns and a good balance between the three colors.
  3. Sensuke Bloodline: Known for its striking contrasts and vivid colors, the Sensuke Showa often have a powerful appearance due to the brightness of their Hi and Shiroji, combined with deep black Sumi.
  4. Ikarashi Bloodline: Ikarashi Showa are known for their large size and robust body shape. The color patterns are often grand and bold, giving them an imposing presence.
  5. Matsunosuke Bloodline: The Matsunosuke lineage is known for its strong Sumi and bright Hi. This bloodline often has good skin quality and a pronounced pattern, making them highly sought after among koi enthusiasts.
  6. Dainichi Bloodline: Developed by the renowned Dainichi Koi Farm, this bloodline is famous for its bright, vibrant colors and elegant patterns. Dainichi Showa are often praised for their beauty and quality.
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