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The most common faults with Ogon are discoloration on the head, pectoral fins that are too small for the body, and, in large examples, a tendency to grow fat. Champion Ogon should be voluminous but not obese, so provide strong circulating currents in their pond for them to swim against, which gives them the exercise they need. When buying, look out for the mouth deformities and even the absence of one or both pelvic fins - these faults arise from inbreeding, and can be easily overlooked at a casual glance.

A desirable characteristic of Ogon is their imposing presence in the pond, so choose fish that have the potential to grow big. You can recognize them by their strong, thick caudal peduncle and wide shoulders, even when young.


Hikarimono (Hick-Ah-Ree-Moe-No)

The translation of the name Hikarimono can be broken up into two words; Hikari, meaning "shining" in Japanese, and mono, meaning "ones". The Koi most commonly associated with this group are Ogon (formerly spelled Ohgon), but the classification also takes in metallic Matsuba.

In 1921, a Magoi with a gold-striped back was caught from a river in Takezawa, Yamakoshi prefecture, by Sawata Aoki. Fascinated by this unusual carp, he and his son Hideyoshi embarked on a process of selective breeding, keeping back only those fish that showed some golden scalation. After four of five generations, Aoki succeeded in producing the forerunners of the Ogon - Ginbo and Kinbo, along with Kin Kabuto and Gin Kabuto. The latter had silver edges to their dark scales and a characteristic helmet-shaped head marking, rather like that found on today's ghost Koi. All four types are still thrown in spawnings today, but are considered valueless. Aoki spawned the first true Ogon in 1946, the result of a union between a female Shiro Muji and eight males from his 25-year breeding program.


What to look for in Hikarimono...

It's easy to see why Ogon have an immediate appeal to hobbyists. These Koi grow large, are easily visible in the pond and are lively and intelligent.

Hikarimono are Koi of one color whose scales and skin shimmer in a fashion that resembles a metallic spray paint. When a Koi shows this trait it is referred to as metallic.

Like other single colored breeds, the quality of the scale color and design on Hikarimono is critical. Any blemish on the skin or scales would be easy to pick out, greatly devaluing the specimen. The head should be clear and lustrous. The metallic sheen should also extend to the fins, especially the pectorals. As the fish grow large and their skin stretches, the scales should take on an almost three-dimensional quality due to their lighter, leading edges.

Hikarimono Colors...

Gold: (see example above) Early Ogon were golden, but with a tendency to turn blackish in warm water. This trait was bred out around 1957 by Masasuki Kataoka when he spawned one of these fish with a Kigoi. Modern yellow Ogon are known as Yamabuki Ogon, watch for orange flecks on the head, which devalue them.

Platinum: Platinum Ogon, or Purachina, are white Koi whose body shines with the same luster as the precious metal. These first appeared in 1963, probably from out crossing Kigoi with the grayish-silver Nezu (short for the Japanese word for rat, nezumi) Ogon - which remains a variety in its own right. At about the same time, the Cream Ogon became popular. This is a metallic Koi, midway between a Purachina and a Yamabuki Ogon. Examples of this breed are very rare.

Orenji (Orange):  Orenji Ogon resulted from crossing Higoi with the original yellow metallics, and later with Yamabuki Ogon. These are startlingly bright Koi, but rather prone to shimis.

Matsuba Ogon: Matt-scaled Matsuba are grouped in Kawarimono, but their metallic equivalents are benched Hikarimono. The most commonly available are Kin Matsuba (metallic gold, first produced in 1960) and the Gin Matsuba, its silver equivalent. Orenji Matsuba and Aka Matsuba Ogon are not often seen. The pinecone scalation must be pronounced; if the black is more of a gray, these Koi look washed out. Beginners are often confused by the Doitsu Matsuba Ogon, as the scale reticulation is not present. Instead, the black, German scales are aligned in the usual position, where they contrast sharply with the metallic body. Orange Doitsu Ogon, though rare, are particularly striking. They are also known as Mizuho Ogon.

Kawarimono Koi for sale from Blackwater Creek Koi Farms. Hikarimono Koi for sale from Blackwater Creek Koi Farms. Hikarimono Koi for sale from Blackwater Creek Koi Farms. Hikarimono Koi fish for sale from Blackwater Creek Koi farms.