Yamabuki Ogon by Bryan Bateman

Yamabuki Ogon

The history of the development of metallic koi is an interesting one. About 90 years ago, a Japanese hobbyist by the name of Sawata Aoki had a dream to create a special type of koi. When he heard that a young boy had found a wild carp in a river which had golden stripes on it, he walked many miles to see this carp, and convinced the boy to sell it to him. He carried his new treasure home and spent the next 25 years patiently breeding and selecting the brightest and shiniest offspring until, in 1946, he finally achieved his dream – the first metallic koi. This koi soon came to be called a Yamabuki Ogon, and is the original ancestor of all metallic koi that we have available to us today.


Today Yamabuki Ogons are one of the most popular of varieties. Although extremely expensive when first made available to Japanese collectors, they can now be had at prices well within the budget of most hobbyists. They are hardy, grow quite large, and are generally the friendliest of koi. Their bright shiny yellow color will attract your eye especially as the sun strikes them.

When selecting young Yamabuki Ogons, look first for a healthy, energetic koi with a solid body shape (not too skinny or too fat). Next in importance is the sheen. Look at the pectoral fins, along the back, and on the head. These areas should be highly reflective as the light hits them. The head should be “clean” – no dark smudges or spots of orange or red. The color can range from a pale to a darker yellow color. Generally as they grow the shade will darken somewhat. Look closely at the scales to make sure there are no orange spots or scales that are out of alignment – the color should be even and the scales arranged in neat rows front to back.

© Bryan Bateman 2014