Every single koi that is produced in Niigata, Japan, is the culmination of generations of talent and expertise dedicated to the production of the world’s most beautiful koi. In fact, it is fair to say that even with everything else that Niigata has to offer koi farmers, without a particular mentality and approach shown towards their ornamental livestock, we would not enjoy such a high quality of koi that we do today.
The Japanese are a culture apart from Anglo-Saxon Europeans
This is evident in everything the Japanese do. The Japanese have an affinity for order, with a well organised approach to the way things are done and laid out. Some breeders are more meticulous than others – something that is apparent when viewing their intensive holding ponds.
Not all farmers adopt the same approach when rearing or holding koi – with some breeders opting to feed stock and rear their koi very intensively, while others adopt a more laissez-faire approach with their overwintering koi. Common to all breeders is the appearance that they share a ‘calling’ to koi farming. It is clearly a way of life (rather than simply a job) with koi running through their entire lifestyle.
The Niigata breeders’ love for their koi is all too apparent when viewing their koi. They net, bowl and treat their koi with immense respect, taking great pride in each koi as if it were a member of their own family.
The Niigata koi farmers seem to share a gift and a common understanding of what their koi need. They are able to keep their koi in health-defying stocking densities, maintaining impeccable water clarity with some of the most straight forward of filter systems. The common humility demonstrated by the koi farmers of Niigata could easily be misinterpreted as a tendency to oversimplify and undersell their skills, expertise and understanding of koi.
It is only after spending time with the breeders that their manner is one of quiet confidence, believing in the quality of their koi and the systems that support them.
The koi breeders of Niigata are definitely a culture apart. They smoke like chimneys (without exception), are never far from a hot can of coffee and are keen to offer you hospitality as though you have known them for many years – only in Niigata, Japan.