Marudo Koi Farm is now known as one of Niigata’s top breeders. He breeds some spectacular Koi and his Koi win many Japanese shows as well as many over sea’s shows. Many of the large breeders now aim to become a ‘one stop shop’ and Marudo is no different. With Koi sales worldwide and a huge admiration for him and his Koi in the USA and Europe he is trying to expand into other varieties. Expanding the breeding also means expanding the farm which has been happening since 2005 when the man facility was badly damaged in the Earthquake.
Hisashi Hirasawa is now 52 years of age. He joined Dainichi Koi Farm when he was just 15 years old and worked there for 18 years. Now 18 years working with Dainichi is fantastic. The knowledge that Hisashi has learnt from Dainichi has now made him one of the top Koi breeders in the world. It was vital experience for him, and many others who have been schooled at Dainichi.
Marudo Koi farm now has 5 facilities in different areas around Niigata. The house in Ohira is the oldest facility and is where Hirasawa San’s grandfather first started breeding Koi, not in a big way though and was not a real source of income, it did however get Hisashi into Koi! The House that most ‘Old School’ Japan travellers will remember is the one in Nigoro, this where the family lived prior to the Earthquake in 2004. Some fabulous Koi were bought from this place, I can remember Nisai there that would make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up! One of the newer houses is on Route 17 which is the main road from Nagaoka to Ojiya. You can’t miss it, a massive glass house. This is a selling facility and on some days in October/November you cant even get through the door because there are so many people trying to get in! Very close to this facility is the new family home, built soon after the earthquake and on the flat ground. A very nice house, which of course wouldn’t be complete without a huge brand new Koi house! A very modern facility with 13 tanks ranging from 10 tons to 35 tons. As most breeders they have a separate house just for their tosai. The Sanbusho facility has been with the farm for many years now and has 28 ponds ranging from 10 to 30 tons. This is a huge tosai house. I have had some fantastic fish from here over the years.
Now you can see that marudo Koi farm is no small organisation. They have 6 full time staff and 3 part time staff to help them at the busy times.
The decision to run a Koi farm like this is not taken lightly. Hirasawa San could be a VERY successful small breeder, similar to someone like Shintaro. He has the experience and knowledge to compete with any breeder in Japan. He didn’t have to build new Koi houses, produce more koi, have 12 trucks and 6-9 staff! He took the job on to become successful for himself and his family. The way its going the future is looking very bright for the Koi farm.
As I write this Marudo Koi farm uses around 30 sets of parent Koi when breeding. Apart from Sanke, Kohaku and Showa Marudo Koi Farm produces Chagoi, Karashigoi, Kujaku, Mukashi Ogon, Kabuto Ogon, Yamabuki Ogon, Shiro Utsuri, Gin Rin Kohaku, Asagi, Purachina, Gin Matsuba and Kin Matsuba!
Koi such as Kabuto are very old and traditional Koi which were produced many years ago but were phased out due to lack of demand. Kabuto have always been one of my favourite Koi because you just never saw them. Its always nice to visit Marudo Koi farm and see the 95cm+ Kabuto he now has. Maybe next year I will try and bring some into the UK.
Hisashi has a passion for big Koi. He loves to see the Koi grow to 1metre with the huge old style body shapes they used to produce. They are a fantastic sight to see.
Marudo Koi Farm now has around 55 mud ponds just for fry! Most are used every year but next year fewer will be used as production will decrease slightly due to the current economic climate. The Go-Sanke will still be bred as usual but other varieties and maybe a few varieties they were planning to introduce will be saved until the next year. The farm has 30 ponds which are used for growing all the Koi from tosai. They are some huge ponds too.
Hirasawa San is a recognised Shinkokai member and one of the 6 Niigata representatives, Im sure it won’t be long until he is the area boss or perhaps more! You will always see him at the major shows, either judging or running around getting everything organised. The respect this guy gets is almost second to none. It is very well deserved, his Koi are superb and it’s a very professional operation. I think everyone who ever visits Japan has this farm at the top of their lists to check out.
I asked Hirasawa San a few questions.
How has the current economical climate affected Marudo Koi Farm?
There has been a slight drop in sales but on the whole business has been the same which is really good. We can carry on with our future plans.
What are your future plans?
We want to produce more ‘Show Koi’ Koi which can win the All Japan Koi Show. We plan to build a large indoor pond where we can grow and condition show Koi for clients and our customers. This is something many are trying to do…including you Tim San!
How many Koi are now exported from Marudo Koi farm?
It’s a massive number. I would say that at least 80% of all Koi we produce are exported. It really is vital for us.
You recently faxed me the KHV certificates for the farm, how often are you checked?
We send samples for KHV testing from every pond we harvest. We wait for the results before we mix them. When Koi are taken to Koi shows they are quarantined and re-tested for KHV before being mixed again. We also send in random samples every 3 months for government testing. We take it very seriously and abide by all regulations.
Anybody visiting Niigata, make sure you go and see Marudo. His English isn’t very good but between him and his staff they get by very well. Hirasawa San is famous for his catchphrase “Oh yes!” Which he responds with a lot of the time. “Is this Koi a Sansai?” “Oh Yes!” and so on. A great guy!