Yamazaki Koi farm

Yamazaki is not a ‘house hold’ name in the Koi world but Yamasan Koi farm have probably produced a few fish you have in your pond. In Niigata he produces many Koi for the wholesale market and his fish get distributed all over the world.
Situated in Kawaguchi town, Yamazaki Koi farm as it is known today started 67years ago. By Seiici and his father Kokichi Yamazaki.
They have always produced mainly metallic varieties and now also produce some very good Go-Sanke. The family also own a mushroom business which is situated on the same property. This is also a very big concern, producing some of the best shiitake in the area.
Anybody visiting Japan on a regular basis will know of this farm. They will also know the fantastic Character who is Manabu Yamazaki. He now pretty much runs the Koi farm and is one of the nicest guys you will ever come across in Japan. Nothing is too much for this guy to do for you. The farm is now one of the biggest facilities in the area and produces many Koi. Yamazaki Koi farm now breed with 30 sets of parent Koi…yes…30sets!! From these sets the farm will keep 2000 Koi from each spawing. Do the maths, its a lot of fish.
So out of the 30 sets of parents we have 60,000 Koi. From this 60,000 Yamazaki Koi Farm will keep 4000 as their Tategoi. After 1 year this number is down to 400 Nisai. Then the following year 70 Sansai. So from the original 60,000 Koi, only 70 three year old Koi will be left. It’s quite amazing when you really think about it. Thats why it is one of the hardest jobs in the world. If they have a bad harvest with the weather and other factors then the numbers can be much lower. It does however show that these breeders really want to offer the very best Koi they can produce. It would be easy to relax the culling process and mass produce average Koi but these guys refuse to do that and thats why they produce so many good Koi. They never allow ‘rubbish’ to get through. This is one of the reason why the Japanese will always produce the best Koi in the world. Tradition and pride.
Yamazaki Koi farm have over 80 mudponds in the Niigata area ranging in size. They are not known for any ‘jumbo’ tosai or anything like that, they just produce as many good varieties and they can. They do deal mainly with wholesalers who buy Koi for the rest of the world so numbers is very important to the farm. Yamazaki Koi are on every wholesalers pricelists because they breed quality. UK, Germany, Holland, Ireland, America, Belgium and many more places will all receive Koi from this farm. The chances of you having one in your pond could be pretty high!
Manabu also speaks very good English, he learnt this while working for a Koi Dealer in America where he learnt about what people liked to buy, he learnt about Koi markets outside of Japan, this was vital for how he now runs his business. He is a very good business man. He saw the opportunity in America to breed ‘long fin’ Koi and now exports thousands of them to America. Not so many anywhere else though…for now! Thank god!!
Manabu is one of the 6 Shinkokai representatives in the Niigata area. This is a huge responsibility for someone who is only 33 years of age. You will always see Manabu at the all the major Koi shows setting up, and various admin job for the show. I think one day he has a very good chance of bringing in the new blood needed to keep the organisation going. Manabu along with other breeders such as Yozaimon, Toshiaki Sakai, Hoshikin and the Dainichi brothers are really up and coming breeders which is fantastic for the continuation of high class Koi being produced in Japan.
Varieties produced
Purachina, Yamabuki Ogon, Chagoi, Ochiba, Goshiki, Kiki Kuryu, Shiro utsuri, Harewake, Hi Utsuri, Kujaku, Kohaku, Sanke, Showa including Gin Rins plus all metallic varieties known! The chances of you having owned one of their Koi are very high.
During the Earthquake of 2004 Yamazaki Koi farm suffered quite bad structural damage. It was however easily repairable, Kawaguchi town came out much better than other areas of the mountains. They repaired the main Koi house but then decided to add another Koi house directly across the street. This has really given them the water space they need to grow even bigger in the world market and to produce some more varieties and even get to a stage where they can concentrate on specific varieties to become a house hold name!
I asked Manabu a few questions
Your work load must be very busy?
Yes, we start harvesting our tosai in September and finally harvest our parent Koi in December. With my father and brother (Who usually runs the mushroom farm) we work long hours and manage every year but are very tired.
Do you sell Koi all year?
Before we only sold Koi in February/March and April but now we produce enough fish to satisfy the wholesale market so we must have stocks all through summer.
What are you further plans?
We want to continue supplying the big markets and have our Koi for sale in many countries. We will also try and concentrate on producing higher class Koi.
You do a lot of work for Shinkokai, how do you fit this in?
I believe in the Shinkokai and enjoy very much helping it. I see it as a very important within the industry to have these Koi shows and events and show off the best Koi in the world. It is what makes Japan very special.
How is business?
It’s the same as all the other Koi breeders, very slow. The exchange rate from most places is not as good as they were and this has affected us. We just hope it gets better.
How are you fighting KHV?
We have our fish tested 4 times a year now and have always been negative.
If anyone is visiting Japan please go and see Manabu, You will love him!

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