The Tancho Kohaku is a highly prized variety of koi, particularly in Japan. This striking fish’s resemblance to the Japanese flag is certainly one reason for its popularity but that isn’t the whole story.
What is a Tancho Kohaku?
The Tancho Kohaku boasts a pure white background adorned by a single, bold red circle across the head. The fish gets its name from the Tancho crane, a rare and beautiful bird which is native to Japan. The Tancho crane is mostly white but has a red crest. This bird is symbolic of good fortune and longevity and so the Tanchu Kohaku koi may be considered lucky by association.
The Beauty of the Tancho Kohaku
Whether you are a koi enthusiast or not, there is no denying the beauty of the Tancho Kohaku. For breeders, the ideal qualities are the purest of white bodies and a red patch that is strong and bright. The white portion of the fish should be flawless and the red patch the only marking. A broad forehead is desirable as this better displays the red patch. The red circle should be centred and exhibit clean edges with no bleeding into the white. Ideally the red circle should spread from eye to eye without actually touching the eyes and should not extend back beyond the shoulders.
A Matter of Chance
The colour and pattern of the Tanchu Kohaku cannot be bred into the fish. The colouration simply appears by chance. This makes these fish extremely rare and much sought after. The best specimens are very costly. The fascination with this variety extends to fish with red patches other than circles. Some fish exhibit a heart shaped patch and these fish can even become tourist attractions. The potential value of a Tancho Kohaku has meant that unscrupulous dealers can use a scalpel to enhance the definition of the red circle!
Care and Diet
The Tancho Kohaku koi does not require any special care and is not prone to health problems. It has a similar growth rate to other koi. Good quality colour enhancing food can help to maintain the best colouration in the red pattern.
If you like the idea of Tancho Kohaku koi but cannot find or afford a specimen for your pond, then consider Showa or Sanke koi instead. These varieties can also boast appealing red circles on their heads but they have further areas of colour on their bodies. These varieties are not as sought after as the Tancho Kohaku but they are kinder on your bank balance.
For more information on different varieties see our koi types information page.