Koi Spotlight: Goshiki

Goshiki koi is the result of breeding Sanke with Asagi to produce Sanke patterns which are overlaid on the blue colored background. The word “Go” in Japanese means five and Goshiki is koi that displays five colors, which are dark blue, black, light blue, red and white. This color mix often results in a white ground that is purplish.

Goshiki Origins

During the mid-1990s, Goshiki received promotion via the Kawarimono, a group from which it had been in competition with other varieties. It became distinct and popular due to the Asagi pattern which consisted of bluish dark robing along its scales on a white colored background, which are today considered the standard and which are named Kindai Goshiki. A fish with a darker ground is referred to as being Kuro-Goshiki.

Research indicates that the temperature of the pond will affect the color intensity. For instance, in cooler water, the pale background will become darker, and then light up again when the water temperature increases. The usual Sanke and Kohaku pattern will be preferred due to their high markings, which shouldn’t be too big since a lot of its appeal can be found in the background.

Ideal Pattern

In a prized specimen, its robing must be confined to its background, although in some instances it might appear on its hi markings. The marking on the head must be clear and bold, with hi that is bright. Miniature hi markings might also appear along the pectoral fins, which will help maintain balance in the pattern. Although hi or ai tail streaks aren’t ideal, many koi enthusiasts will tolerate them.

When Goshiki is bred into Showa or Sanke, the result will be Goshiki-Showa or Goshiki-Sanke, which are truly rare fish that are sought after by connoisseurs. The Goshiki-Sanke will display large and prominent sumi marks whereas the Goshiki-Showa will display mostly Showa style patterns.


The one thing that all Goshiki koi have in common is that they are white based, with a black pattern fish net that overlays it. It will usually cover the whole back and will extend from the fish’s top down into their lateral line, which extends from the tail base to the gill plate. Sometimes you will see an orange or red pattern which is akin to Kohaku.

Caring for these fish is very similar to all koi. You want to keep them in a pond that has good water quality with the proper temperatures and an ample amount of food. When these fish are properly cared for, they will display a spectacular pattern which some have compared to neon. A healthy Goshiki is one which has a pristine fishnet pattern which is free of black spots and specs. If neon orange or red coloration is present, it must be thick with edges that are crisp. No holes should be visible in the hi plate, but it should be noted that Goshiki can be somewhat unstable when it comes to their color development as they age.

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