Steve Betts

Flash Back Friday - An Interview With Hisato Nogami

Back in 2009 Ricky interviewed renound breeder Hisato Nogami from Nogami Koi Farm, based in Nagaoka and known for its specialism in varieties of Kohaku and Showa.

In this Flash Back Friday blog we re-look at that interview word for word, in full detail.

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Image: Hisato Nogami prepares an Autumn Harvest

Please note that all interview references to a recession are historical and are not a reflection of the current Covid pandemic.

Ricky: How is the global recession impacting on your business if at all?

Nogami: Because of the global recession in my case the big, high-grade koi is becoming less business and also the medium size or smaller size koi are also becoming less business than before so the total business turnover is shrinking.

Ricky: Have you had to take any measures to keep your customers buying koi?

Nogami: So under the circumstances I try to appeal my sales point by advertisement or visiting to the dealers or visiting to the koi hobbyist.

Ricky: Can you imagine working in any other environment?

Nogami: Of course not!

Ricky: What is your proudest achievement?

Nogami: You may know already that I have got the grand championship with my Kohaku at Nogyousai show last year I am very proud of this.

Ricky: What is it about Nishikigoi that you love so much?

Nogami: The beauty of the swimming style of Nishikigoi attract me a lot and the process of growing and becoming more beautiful. This kind of process itself attracts me very much.

Ricky: What characteristics do you look for when selecting male and female Oyagoi?

Nogami: The first is bloodline, secondly my inspiration.

Ricky: What age did you begin to learn about Nishikigoi?

Nogami: When I was 19 years old I first worked at Dainichi as a trainee.

Ricky: Which was my next question, where did you train and how many years did you train?

Nogami: At Dainichi Koi farm I have learned nishikigoi for 16 years.

Ricky: How do you keep your Koi during the winter months and why?

Nogami: As for Tosai recently I have been concentrating only high grade nishikigoi this is why I am trying to grow them bigger as jumbo Tosai. As for a little bit bigger fish, 2 years old I heat up just a little bit it means 18 Celsius and I feed just a little food to maintain the Koi condition and the beauty of the Koi.

Ricky: What were your ambitions as a Koi breeder when you began?

Nogami: I would like to breed and grow the Koi, which I am satisfied with by myself, and this Koi I would like other people to recognize this Koi as very beautiful.

Ricky: You produce Kohaku with exceptional, very good beni. A good example is the Nogyousai grand champion. Can you explain about the bloodline of this fish and how it develops?

Nogami: As for the lineage the female parent stock comes from the Kagura lineage. Kagura is one of the famous bloodlines in Japan. This Kagura bloodline lineage established inbetween the Maruyama Kohaku and Dainichi Kohaku. The male fish is probably comes from the Takeda main lineage in Hiroshima. There is a very famous Kohaku & Showa breeder in Hiroshima and i sometimes introduced the parent stock from Takeda.

Ricky: So what is the characteristic of this parent stock?

Nogami: So as for the male fish the beni colour, hi colour is very deep and red. I recognized the quality; overall quality and the Koi have inherited the luster of the skin.

Ricky: Do you think it is a good idea to feed colour-enhancing food to Kohaku to make the beni stronger?

Nogami: Yes it is. It is a good way to use the colour enhancing food.

Ricky: Can colour food damage the skin quality at all?

Nogami: Yes it can. I usually never use 100% colour food when I feed Koi. Depends on the season I use 50% - 70% colour food mixed with normal food so it depends on the season.

Ricky: You also breed Showa from the same bloodlines as Oomo san; Dainichi and Takeda why do you think these bloodlines are popular with other breeders?

Nogami: One of the reason is that, actually I do not know how many breeders or I do not know other breeder whether they likes to use these 2 lineages. In my case one of the reason is that I have learned Nishikigoi at Dainichi and I saw that Dainichi uses many good quality fish as the parents and this is one reason. Another reason for Takeda is that this Gentleman Mr. Takeda passed away about 2 years ago and this gentleman Mr. Takeda concentrated to use the high quality fish as his male and female parent stock. I know that Takeda uses and pays a lot of money for the high quality fish, as a parent stock I know it by myself and this is the reason I would like to use Takeda lineage.

Ricky: Have you ever stabilized your own bloodline and are you still using it today?

Nogami: Yes I established my lineage and I still use it.

Ricky: Have you tried to improve it in anyway at all?

Nogami: So first I always try to see many more high quality fish, which was bred by other breeders and if I find some Koi, which attract me much more, then I would like to introduce this Koi as my parent stock in future.

Ricky: Your jumbo Koi have a very good body shape with a lot of volume how do you achieve this?

Nogami: The first point is I have to see the potential of the Koi, which may grow with a good body shape…potential! The second point is that the Koi, which has the potential, I am always thinking about how I am going to improve these Koi with many different type of method. One method is the amount of food, depends on the season. Everyday i'm thinking and also checking the amount of food per day and how many times and when autumn comes the peak, I would like to set the peak when I will harvest. The koi’s peak should be the harvesting day.

Ricky: What is the best way to prepare Koi for a show?

Nogami: I try to maintain the luster of the skin after harvesting.

Ricky: What qualities do you believe are most important in Kohaku?

Nogami: No matter if it is deep red or orange red I don’t care too much but the important point is the luster of the skin this is more important. Also I would like to make the Koi that really have the pure white skin.

Ricky: Your Nogyousai came close to winning at the All Japan Show do you think you can win this award in the future.

Nogami: At all Japan Koi show this year in January my Kohaku was nominated as one of the top 5 and it was unfortunate that I didn’t get the Grand champion award but I have heard from many other Koi people that the Kohaku was really beautiful and many people recongnised my Koi as one of the best so the reputation of that Kohaku was very high. So I am now trying to make the Koi becoming more beautiful and if the Koi condition in the mud pond is good enough and harvested with a good result then the Koi will be able to compete to get the grand champion award.

Ricky: Good luck. What factors will effect the development of the white skin?

Nogami: The point is not the factors but the potential of the skin itself is important. If the Koi doesn’t have the potential of white skin i cannot do anything. If the Koi has a potential I will think about how to bring out the potential to become it’s best.

Ricky: Do you sell most of your Koi to export or to Japanese hobbyists?

Nogami: What I would like to do is just to concentrate only for the high-grade fish no matter if it will export or going to the Koi hobbyists I don’t care. Just maintain the quality.

Ricky: In the summer you grow Masao Kato’s Koi in your mud ponds. Are you pleased to be given this opportunity or is it a stressful job?

Nogami: During summer season it gives me a big stress daily but at the end, eventually at the end when it comes to harvesting day I am very pleased to see how the Koi developed or how the Koi grows very big or beautiful. At the end the stress make me happy.

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