Yamamatsu Koi Farm- Matsunosuke

Beautiful Nishikigoi is made possible by highly specialized skill, talent and continuous efforts over 20-30 years. Mr. Sakai is one of the representative breeders.
Some of you may be interested in breeding Nishikigoi. Some of you may even be interested in becoming professional breeders. Nishikigoi have standards that are very deep in the Japanese culture. It is important that professional breeders throughout the world adhere to these standards.
The breeders in my articles are representative of Japanese breeders. I have worked with them for many years and I believe this information will help those interested breed better koi.

Matsunosuke - Mr. Toshiyuki Sakai of Yamamatsu Koi Farm
Matsunosuke Sanke is a representative brand of Taisho Sanshoku. Mr. Toshiyuki Sakai at the Yamamatsu Koi Farm and Mr. Toshio Sakai of the Isawa Nishikigoi Center created this bloodline. It was in 1974 when they first bred Matsunosuke Sanke. From that point, the history of the Matsunosuke began.
There had been countless failures and heartbreak until they found the right match in parents. In the 1960's, this Sanke was known for its beauty but it did not grow into a large size. This was very disturbing to the Sakai brothers. It was then they set as their goal the breeding of large koi.
They went everywhere to find potential parents. They were successful in 1974. Since then, they have improved the bloodline over the last 20 years. At last they won Grand Champion in 1994 and 1995.
"Ikeage" - seining 3-year-old Matsunosuke out of mud pond.
In winter, this area has a huge snowfall 2-3m(80-120in.). Yamamatsu Koi Farm in located at about the center of this picture.
What we need to learn here is that the brothers set a clear goal to develop large koi. They did not simply buy parents to breed beautiful koi.
Mr. Koji Sakai and Mr. Yoshimichi Sakai of the Hiroshima Sakai Koi Farm, won Grand Champion at the All Japan Combined Nishikigoi show in 2000 and 200land at the ZNA All Japan Nishikigoi show in the fall of 2001 as well. These results gave them a repu tation as top breeders in Japan. Their goal was "to breed koi with dignified appearance."
What Mr Sakai of Matunosuke and Mr. Sakai of Hiroshima have in common is that they set goals with determination.
In addition, they both considered body conformation the top priority as we see from their goals: "breed large koi" (Matsunosuke) and "breed koi with dignified appearance." It is said that the beauty of Nishikigoi depends on first the body conformation, second the quality and third, the pattern. Nobody objects to this standard. In fact, many breeders emphasize pattern in their breeding.
It is not too much to saythe history of Nishikigoi is a history of criss-crossing. Various characters of the ancestors can exist in one koi. When thinking too much of pattern, breeders will often look for parents that have good pattern and fail to consider the existence of the complex characters inside the koi. It is very important to consider the true nature when looking for parents.
Nishikigoi breeders must set a firm goal and pursue it with passion in achieving it for at least 20 years.
In the picture above you can see Yamakoshi village in Niigata where Yamamatsu Koi Farm is located. Deep in the mountains it snows at least 2 to 3 meters (7 to 10 ft) in winter. The famous Toshiyuki Sakai is working on breeding of Nishikigoi. In winter everything is covered with snow. From spring to autumn the air is clear. It has very beautiful scenery.
It is in this wonderful environment that he breeds his beautiful Nishikigoi. Yamamatsu Koi Farm has 40 mud ponds in various sizes covering about 8.75 acres.
A. This is Grand Champion at the All Japan Combined Nishikigoi Show in 1994. Her nickname is "Himiko." Many readers know her well. This is a good example of Mr. Sakai's work. This Koi was chosen as Grand Champion out of 4,503 entries. This is a great achivement. B. This koi won Grand Champion out of 4,002 entries at the All Japan Combined Nishikigoi Show in 1995. Matsunosuke won Grand Champion 2 years in a row. This achievement made Matsunosuke recognized as a top quality koi. C. In 1997, Matsunosuke won Grand Champion with this Kohaku. This proved that not only his Sanke but also his Kohaku are a top quality in Japan. His Kohaku is characterised with the outstanding shiroji (white ground).
It has been reported that enterprises in China take the challenge of breeding Nishikigoi in huge areas, such as 50 to 75 acres. But large areas and ponds make little sense in breeding because breeding Nishikigoi is creating "beauty." It is a job to cull out tremendous numbers of fry. Breeders cull koi more than three times (almost every month) until koi grow to about 6 inches (15cm). For this kind of job, a small pond is more convenient. They should put more stress on "technicians" than huge ponds, laborers and wonderful facilities.
In the koi world, there is no school that teaches these things. Young potential breeders spend about three to five years with a breeder to learn everything they can. Because Niigata is still the origin of beautiful Nishikigoi, there are many who study the culling skills there.
After they learn good breeding skills, they continue in pursuit of their goals for 20 to 30 years. Without the knowledge and the life commitment they cannot breed the beautiful koi. Mr. Toshiyuki Sakai represents those who have committed their lives to this.
Mr. Toshiyuki watches over 500 2-year-old koi just pulled out of a mud pond in the fall.

Every year, his excellent breeder fish produce about 1,000,000 fry. He keeps only the top 5,000 tosai (one year old, about 6"). Around May, he selects 500 out of the 5,000 to release in the mud ponds. He harvests them in autumn and by now they have grown to about 16 to 20 inches. He keeps 50 out of the 500 to raise one more year and sells the rest. In other words, only 5,000 of the famous Matsunosuke is available each year. This is a very limited brand. If you are fortunate enough to own one, please recognize its value and giveitgood care.