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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The History of Koi Carp

Koi are considered to be one of the most beautiful fish to keep in the pond. Caring for them can be a lot of hard work, but when they are raised in an ideal environment, they give off such vibrant colors that a Zen-like atmosphere is immediately created in the garden.

The Japanese koi carp are known throughout the world as a beautiful fish with bright vivid colors and unique-looking markings. No one can really be certain about its history and when the transformation of colors truly began. The koi have gone through various stages of evolution and migration. There have been debates about where they originated and how they came to be the revered.

No one can really be certain where koi first came from. Some believe that it came from China while others claim that Europe was where the fish came from. There are records, however, of carp fossils in China. Some of these fossils date back to as early as 20 million years ago.

Rice growing regions such as Japan and China cultivated the original koi as food fish. But sometime during the 1800s, the Japanese started breeding koi for aesthetic purposes. It was in the province of Ojiya, Japan that farmers started to notice colorful pigmentation irregularities in some of their koi stock. This particular group was separated from the others and kept as pets. Soon, the farmers began breeding the groups with color mutations with neighboring farmers that had the same kind of altered koi. Thus, the Japanese koi carp hobby began. During the Tokyo Taisho Exhibition in the easy 1920s, these farmers shared their new knowledge to public. It became an overnight sensation to those who have witnessed the actual beauty of the new breed. The rage spread throughout and owners began breeding their own collection to make new and exciting color mutations.

While there are other species of fish that can be bred, the koi remains to be the most popular choice for many reasons, some of which are superstitious in nature and others for visual reasons. China sees the koi as bringers of luck. In Japan, the people associate Koi with affection and love. The word Koi means carp in Japanese. There are several colors and varieties of Koi. However, the more prominent colors are cream, blue, red, and yellow. The beautiful Koi that we see in the market today are usually bred by experts. It takes a lot of effort to get those amazing colors. If raised in the right environment, you will usually get a few with extraordinary bright colors.

Koi are known to be very vigorous fish that can swim upstream. An old Chinese legend states that koi were brave enough to swim up the waterfalls of the famous Yellow River. People believed that if a fish could reach the point in the river called Dragon Gate, then that fish would turn into a dragon.

While the fish may have been spotted in China, it is the Japanese
who have made the koi a common household name. In Japan, the koi carp symbolizes exceptional courage. Some people believe that if this fish was caught and placed on the chopping board, it would simply stay still and calm as it awaits its sad fate. The fact that it can remain composed in the face of adversity is a quality that many Japanese admire. They are likened to a samurai warrior as it faces the blade of a sword with unwavering courage.

The Chinese and Japanese hold the koi fish is high esteem. Pictures of the koi carp bring forth a message of strength in character. They associate the koi with temerity in the face adversity. With regard to the Chinese legend, the fish is also seen as a symbol of high aspiration and great accomplishment. As the koi swim around in the pond, they look like living jewels. It is believed that good luck and fortune come to those who care for the fish, just like the jewels they resemble. The image of the five golden koi are said to mean everlasting wealth and happiness.

It is also interesting to learn that the koi fish can be found on every continent, that is, except Antarctica. Should you decide to get into koi breeding and raising, you should know that if you have other animals in your garden, make sure that they don't drink the water from the pond. The koi can make the water poisonous and deadly for the animals. Other than that, koi breeding is believed to be very rewarding so long as you have the passion and commitment for it.

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