Masaru Saito started breeding Koi with his father Syosuke in 1968. They mainly bred Yamatonishiki.
Shintaro Koi Farm was set up in 1994.
2 main Koi houses and 1 tosai house.
Koi varietys bred
Shintaro Koi Farm is very famous both in Japan and the western world. Masaru Saito breeds some of the best Go-Sanke available in today’s very competitive market. His 2 year old Koi are always something very special.
Shintaro Koi have won Koi Shows in Japan, England, Holland, Germany, South Africa, America and many other countries around the world.
Sanke parents – Female and male Matsunosuke
Kohaku parents – Female Sensuke – Male Matsunosuke Magoi bloodline
Showa parents – Nogami Male and Shintaro Female.
Shintaro Koi farm as it is known today, is a high class Go-Sanke outlet started in the mid 1990’s. Masaru Saito who today is the owner of Shintaro Koi Farm previously bred Yamatonishiki with his father Syosuke.
Masaru Saito learnt his trade with some of the best teachers you could possibly have. Konishi, where he stayed for a short time learning when he was only 15 years old. Then onto Toshio Sakai at Isawa Nishikigoi Centre. Masaru worked over the winter periods in Isawa and during busy periods in the summer months. He worked for Toshio Sakai for 15 years in total then in 1994 Saito San paid 1.5 Million yen for a Matsunosuke female Sanke from Toshio Sakai for use as a parent and the Shintaro Koi Farm we know today started. Saito San used all his knowledge that he had learnt and started to produce top class Sanke. Many Japanese amateurs including the biggest private collector in the world, Kato San, noticed him, at the time of the Chuetsu Earthquake in 2004, Kato Sans 2 best jumbo Koi were Shintaro Sankes, a great achievement for a collector with over 20,000 Koi.
The Earthquake had a huge effect on Shintaro Koi Farm. The best mudponds were destroyed; at least 80% of the ponds were gone. All the tosai were lost, all the best Nisai were lost. Masaru being the person he is saved all his clients fish before his own and as a result lost many of his important Koi.
Saito San was down, but not out. The following year he repaired some of the mudponds, built new fry ponds on the flats and repaired his Koi houses. Then he was told about a set of 11 mudponds that had become available in a nearby town called Kawaguchi. These ponds were superb, the main pond being one of the largest ponds in Niigata, huge! Within one year Shintaro Koi farm were producing some of the largest Tosai and Nisai in Niigata, and fantastic quality!
This was his second major bounce back for Saito San. In 1997 he finally beat stomach cancer. This made him work even harder on producing better quality Koi.
It was sad news that in 2005 he lost the female Sanke he paid all that money for back in 1994. I was one of the very few people who held that Koi(see picture), while nothing special to look at she was a fantastic breeder. Luckily for Saito San he had already selected and used another female, which he tested out for a few years knowing his main female didn’t have long to go. Now Saito San is using magoi blood within his males to achieve far bigger and better bodied fish. Matsunosuke Koi are usually very slim but with the new blood the bodies should become much bigger.
Q: How many Koi will you produce in one year?
A: I produce around 1,000,000 fry each year.
Q: How many Saleable Koi will you get from the Million fry?
A: I always hope after culling to have 2500 to 3000 tosai each year.
Q: How many high quality Tategoi will you get from the 3000 tosai, How many will you feel are good enough to grow on again?
A: When I select my Tategoi I always hope for as many as possible. Normally I produce around 50 high class pieces, then some will be male. I hope to have 20 high class 2 year olds the following year.
ED: Out of 1million fry, 20 High class Tategoi at 2 years old!!
Q: What was the best Koi you ever produced?
A: A Sanke which Kato San bought from me. She won some local shows in Japan and should have competed in Tokyo when she was over 85cms. She died in the Earthquake. I now have to try again.
Q: Export is big business for Shintaro Koi Farm. How much of your business is taken up with exporting Koi?
A: I ship many Koi to America, UK, Holland, Germany, Taiwan and Canada. I would say 50% of my business is export. I also have a good Japanese client base.
Q: Some people think your Koi are very difficult to understand, the colours are very different to many breeders Koi, they are also very hard to predict.
A: My Koi are from Matsunosuke bloodline, they need patience. Matsunosuke Koi do not get anywhere near their potential until they get over 10 years old. My Koi will always get there but time is what you need. Some people want the fast results and find the Koi are finished after only a few years. I hope my Koi get better and better over time.
Q: You now have fantastic Koi houses, you have fantastic mudponds, so whats next for Shintaro Koi Farm?
A: I work alone and will continue to work alone, I will try and learn more from my parent Koi and maybe find ways to improve other varieties such as Showa. I really want to start producing high class Showa, it takes a long time to do this. I am pleased with my Sankes but would like to experiment with new male’s maybe and hopefully get to a stage where I’m using my own lines.
I have known Saito san for many years and have bought some of his best Koi in this time, he really does breed some fantastic Koi. His character is very different from many Japanese, Saito San is one of the guys! If you are ever in the mountains during the harvest season, get on a pair of waders and get stuck in, he welcomes the help!
Anybody wishing to visit Shintaro Koi Farm in Mushigame, the door is always open. English tea is always on hand and if you are very lucky some of the best curry and rice in town!!