What is ki shusui?

The short version ;)

All shusui start with Asagi. 

Asagi is a fully scaled koi, with beautiful blue "netting", that is symmetrical reticulated pattern of blue scales wrapping the fish from the lateral line, then over and across the back of the fish.

Asagi also has red "hi" (hee) markings coming up from the belly, and coloring the jaws, cheeks and often the pectoral fins.

Pictured below:

This asagi is not mine, but is a good representative of its variety.

Shusui is a doitsu or "scaleless" asagi. 
Shusui is judged in the same class. Where Asagi have blue scales from the lateral line across the back, shusui has clean pale blue or white skin and a double row of bold blue dorsal scales.
Both fish look best with a clean face and head and distinct markings.
Pictured above:
This is a shusui.
Her name is Rosey and she is one of the parents in our F1 2012 ki shusui spawn.
Ki shusui is a yellow shusui.

 The standards for judging this type are the same as for judging (regular) shusui except that instead of red or "hi" markings, the ki shusui has "ki" (kee) or yellow markings. Below, a ki shusui bred here in 2012. 

Our prize-winning, home-bred ki shusui 2012
Click on our young ki shusui (above) to see YouTube video of our 18 month old ki shusui and ayawakaba koi harvested in 2013. See fish swim!


Welcome to the official site

of the Ki Shusui Project!

We love ki shusui! This page is an introduction to the "elusive" one, the genetic formulas that can produce this variety, and a photoblog of this project that began in 2008 and is a work in progress to this day. 

The navigation tabs will take you back in time from the most recent harvest and back to the history of the project. We will show the hits, the misses, and the great success of the 2012 spawn.  

Introduction to ki shusui. 

From shusui to the "elusive" ki shusui

       If you’re here, you probably already have interest in koi. If you're anything like me, you're "koi kichi" which means koi crazy. :)


    I became a koi hobbyist in 2006 and had koi as pets. My favorite variety was shusui which is Japanese for “autumn sky.”



    If you don't know shusui, this is a charming, doitsu (scaleless) koi variety, with pale blue or white skin, red markings on the sides and belly, with a bold blue symmetrical double line of scales along the dorsal ridge.

    A clean head and face are desirable on this variety, but sometimes you'll see shusui with cute birthmarks on the face, including one called "kuchi beni" which means "lipstick." :)





"Stella" is a shusui.

This is "Stella" a standard shusui with some very good qualities. She has white skin, which I thought desirable for breeding ki shusui. Yellow shows up better on white skin. And she has that cute "kuchi beni" or lipstick marking on her face which I just love. :)



    Ki Shusui


One day, either by accident or fate, I learned of the “elusive ki shusui.” This is the same variety as shusui, but instead of red lateral markings, this unusual type has yellow markings on its sides.

     Wow! See the ki shusui below. It is such a terrific looking koi. But -- pretty much unavailable, because it's not easy to breed. And so, "elusive."

The "elusive" ki shusui. This is not my fish. She is the icon for the ideal ki shusui.

     I read what little I could find on ki shusui, (ki means yellow) but learned that although this type of koi is rare, when it ocurred, it was often as a by-product of crossing a green koi called midori with other midori.

Midorigoi, a fish that sometimes makes ki shusui.

     Midorigoi, or midori, is a cross of a standard shusui and a metallic yellow koi called "doitsu ogon."

    So, this koi has both shusui and ogon genes. It made sense, therefore, if you crossed midori x midori, the resulting fry would have both shusui and ogon genes and a yellow shusui could come this cross of koi.


     The picture below is is one of my midorigoi. Her name is "Jade."


Doitsu Yamabuki Ogon

     Doitsu Ogon is a koi with "metallic" skin, beautiful its own right, and is often the source of "ki" when creating midori. Ogons come in three solid color types; platinum, yellow, and orange. This is the short version. ;) When trying to breed ki shusui, the best bet is to cross shusui with yellow ogon. 

    This is one of my doitsu yellow yamabuki ogons, by the name of Capone.

Doitsu yellow ogon

    "Ayawakaba," translated, means "fresh new leaves on water." This is a variety in progress now in Japan.

    Ayawakaba also shows up as a byproduct of a midori x midori cross and also from a shusui x midori cross. It has similar genetics or even identical genetics to ki shusui. But it differs in appearance in that rather than lateral markings, the pattern on this variety is that of "leaves on water," and so it has a dorsal orientation. This variety often has an orange head and face, while ki shusui should have clean head and face with some cute exceptions.

     The ayawakaba below is not mine. But, it is a pretty good example of the type.

    The fish, below is a doitsu lemon hariwake. I had the  idea to add this variety into the general mix for its "lemon" coloration. I didn't take into account the effect of the  platinum skin on the offspring. Instead of ki shusui, I got plenty of kinsui, or metallic shusui and a bi-colored matsuba. Neither of which did I want. 

     Well, this is how we learn. :)

     Pretty as this variety is, I wouldn't add this platinum-and-yellow fish to the mix again. While a hikarimoyo or two-tone metallic fish is good looking, it didn't move the ki shusui project forward. But, an all yellow metallic fish - yellow hariwake or yellow ogon - is just the right thing. :)
Doitsu lemon hariwake

The project begins in earnest; May 2009

    I have a field to the north of my garden and there is a spring in the middle of this field. I decided to put in a new mud pond and dedicate it to trying to breed ki shusui. That was in 2008. Here, under an autumn sky.


 The original breeding stock.

    To begin I bought about twenty oyagoi: three shusui females, six midori, two ayawakaba males, two yellow ogon males and I added a “twist” of my own; several doitsu lemon hariwake of both genders.



   A fish friend seemed dismayed by my idea for this project. He said, "I've never heard of anyone putting this combination of fish together -- on purpose!"




   I didn't know that. I was trying what made sense to me. And, I did have some success. Not enough success to call this project a good business model, but I did achieve several ki shusui. Pictured below is one of the two I think are the best of the batch.


My best ki shusui in 2012. Yay!

    Below, I am looking quite happy with my best ki shusui from the 2010 spawn. Her ki is not as bright as that of the iconic ki shusui, because this fish has a sky blue skin which is the standard base color of the shusui variety.


   When yellow overlays blue, it shows greenish or less vivid than when yellow is overlaid on white skin. The blue skin on this fish may fade toward white -- she's still very young -- and if it does, this very nice ki shusui's ki will become more buttery. Similarly, her blue dorsal scales may become more pronounced in time.


    This very pretty fish won a best Kawarigoi award in Koiphen's 2012 Virtual Koi Show. And she has breeding stock potential in the years to come. Yahoo!

Slide show of my best ki shusui before the 2012 project reboot.
Above: Video of the best of the 2013 harvest.

Below: Video of the best seven of 2014 cull. These are not perfect fish, but in concert, these seven have the qualities I am looking for in the next generation; strong conformation, lustrous skin, bold blue "zippers" and indication that ki genetics are present in a lateral pattern. These seven are the future of the project going foward and I hope will be the parents of the 2015 F2 spawn. Wishing them a restful winter and a frolicking new year. :)

Link to the 2014 harvest, here. Expanded coverage of the 2014 Harvest
BRAND NEW:  Link to the 2015 Harvest here:       page11.html 
Click on the three ki shusui (above) to read an article in Main Street Magazine about our "elusive ki shusui," published in November, 2014.
Click on the World Wide Koi Club logo above to virtually experience seven years of the rollercoaster breeding program known as "the ki shusui project with a twist" from the first egg to the present day. I've been told this photoblog reads like a novel. For fish-aholics. :)