Koi - KoromoKoromo, which means "robed" were originally developed by crossing a male Kohaku with a female Asagi to produce a Koi with a Kohaku-type hi pattern overlaid with the scaling of Asagi. The main variety in the group is the Aigoromo [see left photo] (Ai meaning blue) on which the scales of the hi markings are edged with a deep indigo blue producing a clear reticulated pattern. The final requirement of the Aigoromo is a good Kohaku pattern with deep hi markings on snow white skin, together with all the other attributes which make for good Kohaku. The head pattern should be as a normal Kohaku, with no overlaid pattern. The remaining hi markings should all have individual scales clearly defined by their blue edging when the Koi is finished. These edged scales should not encroach onto the white skin.

The pattern of this variety does not fully develop until maturity, with young specimens not showing the clear reticulated pattern. As the pattern grows more intense as the Koi grows, it is perhaps wise to seek those which show the minimum of Koromo marking when small in the hope that these will develop as the Koi grows to produce the impressive elegance which in time is true Aigoromo. Predicting how a pattern will develop is an interesting, albeit difficult, exercise which can lead to disappointments. Poorer quality Aigoromo lack the clear definition required producing a fuzzy and muddy effect.

Sumi-goromo is the second of the Koromo group – as the name suggests the pattern here is overlaid with sumi, producing a much darker overall effect. In this variety sumi also appears on the head hi which is a useful reference point in distinguishing between Aigoromo and Sumi-goromo.The basic Kohaku body pattern is still a requirement of Sumi-goromo. As the scales are overlaid with sumi, and not just edged, the neatness and clarity of Aigoromo is lacking. However, the basic underlying hi pattern should still be apparent. This variety is unfortunately prone to irregularities of pattern which show as isolated dark patches on the hi and do detract from the overall effect.

Koi - GoshikiBudo-goromo, although rare, are sometimes seen. Budo means "grape" and gives a clue to the colour and shape of the pattern A very light and delicate impression should be given by the pattern with individual hi scales appearing as grapes on a bunch, overlaid and edged with purple. Contrast this with snow white skin and a truly elegant Koi is the result. Head markings are not necessary in this variety. Fins, as with the previous varieties, should be clear and free from all colour.

Koromo Sanke, as the name suggests, is a combination of Sanke and Aigoromo varieties with the Hi of the Sanke being overlaid in the normal Koromo manner. The usual sumi markings expected of Sanke are also present. There should be no marking on the white areas as this would change the variety to Goshiki.

Koromo Showa, likewise, is a Showa Koromo cross. A basic Showa pattern on which the Hi is overlaid with Koromo markings. Good specimens of these last two varieties are rarely seen and when available often lack the clearly refined reticulated pattern essential to form good Koromo and produce a rather complicated and messy pattern.

Goshiki [see right photo] (this used to be in the Kawarimono class but has recently been put into the Koromo class), originally an Asagi x Sanke cross, from which the name meaning five colours was derived, these being the white, red & black of Sanke and the light and dark blue of Asagi. Having said that one would be hard pressed to identify all these colours on most Goshiki.The combination of colours tends to produce a purplish or grey appearance. Goshiki are said to look better in warm water as their colours darken in cold water. They also often lack definition in the patterning and although they can be pretty when small – good large specimens with well developed patterns are rare.

Stan Collinge