Azuma Nishiki

Azuma Nishiki Top View (Hon Azuma)

Breed Development

“Azuma Nishiki” (Japanese calico oranda) was first created by Katou Kinzou in 1931 in Yokohama, by crossing a calico telescope with an Oranda. This type is called the “Hon Azuma” (True Azuma. Original Azuma.) The show type “Hon Azuma” has a pale, sky blue/violet body, speckled with black, and should preferably should have some red on the head. The side tail bones should sweep forward with enough spread that the tail is fully displayed from the top view. The tail and fins should have “Snake Eye Dots”. Another strain of Azuma Nishiki, Suzuki East, was bred by the Suzuki fish farm (Saitama Sakado), and involved an outcross to the Hama Nishiki; this strain has significantly more head growth. Source: Koganeno Uwo, Japanese goldfish breeder.


Statement to judges and exhibitors: The Azuma Nishiki (Azuma) is a relatively rare breed in many regions. For this reason, Azumas may compete in an open Oranda class, with each Oranda type judged against its own breed standard. A separate Azuma Nishiki- only class is also allowed if there are sufficient entries. Judges will determine if the entered fish are top view or side view.

Schedule of Points:

Color 20

Overall balance and deportment 20

Tail/finnage 20

Body 20

Head 15

Eyes 5

Total Points 100

General Type: The Azuma is a top view fish and should be viewed from above. The head should appear square and the body is long and slender and tapers toward the rear. The fins are long and flowing.

Color: As with other calico colored breeds, the Azuma does not breed true with respect to color. The highly desired light blue/violet body with sparse red accents appears only in a small minority of fry within a given spawn. Maintenance of a strain that produces the desired color may require the breeding of other color types including metallic, bluebelly/mock metallic, kirin (dark calico), and matte type fish which also occur within the same spawns although at different frequencies. Only calico colored fish should be shown in as Azuma Nishiki, and the highest scores should be reserved for fish showing ideal Azuma Nishiki color. The ideal body color should be pale blue to violet with well dispersed black surface markings on the body and into the fins (spots and speckles), and preferably one or a few bright red accent patches, especially around the head. A majority of matte type scales will better allow the subdermal pigments to show through, giving the blue color. A few scattered metallic scales “spangles” are also desirable. Demelanized “Sakura” type fish are allowed, but the absence of melanin (black and blue) is a fault. Large areas of metallic scales, or predominantly orange/black coloration is also a fault. **Note** Azuma color is fugitive, fleeting, transient and is affected by the fishes’ perception of reflected light. Darker colored bowls or aquariums with black bottoms are best for bringing out the desired colors. When placed in a white bowl, Azumas will quickly blanch to a dull whitish color.

Tail/fins- The Azuma tail most resembles the fringe type tail seen on many other orandas, however, as a top view fish, the side tail bones should sweep forward with enough spread that the tail is fully displayed when viewed from above. Unlike the ranchu, the Azuma tail should be soft and flexible and flow easily with the movement of the fish. Any permanent folds or twist to the lobes of the tails are a fault, as are any broken or bent rays, or tears. The tail color is a transparent whitish color with black markings “snake-eye dots”. The dorsal fin must be present, but is not highly visible in this top view breed. The pectoral fins should match the tail in color and curled pectoral fins are a fault. Anal fins should be paired.

Head- The head should be broad, long and square. Although the square head type is not yet as highly developed in the Azuma as in the Ranchu, this head type should be the goal. The width between the eyes and the distance from the eyes to the mouth should be maximized. The head growth, or wen, should be neat and contribute to the rectangular symmetry. The wen should appear in discreet, refined sections including the top of the head (token), the front of the face on either side of the mouth (funtan), under the eyes and over the cheeks. The wen should never cover the eyes, and should not be so developed as to appear like a snowball. As with most other blue-calico type fish, there is a somewhat higher incidence of mouth deformities than is normally seen in metallic types. Any obvious deformity of the mouth, especially the inward “collapse” of one side would be grounds for disqualification.

Body- The body should appear strong and long and the abdomen should not appear compressed or excessively rounded. The effect should be a rectangular appearance at the front end of the fish, and not pear shaped. While the Ranchu body is relatively blockier in type, the Azuma body should be more flexible and it should taper gradually toward the peduncle to accommodate the movement of the larger, softer tail. The spine should be straight from head to tail and not crooked or twisted.

Eyes- Eyes should be of normal size, symmetrical in size and placement and visible (from the side). The wen should not cover the eyes. The size of the eyes should be proportionate to the body size, giving the fish a natural and alert expression. The iris may appear either matte black “dog eye” or metallic or there may be one eye of each type. Protruding eyes are a fault and fully telescoped, or upturned eyes are a disqualification. Very small, pinhead type eyes are a disqualification. Very small or unmatched pupil sizes (if both eyes are metallic) are also a fault.

Schedule of Points: An excellent fish may score 100, maximum deduction per segment is limited to possible (+) points allotted.

Color 20

Fault Description Point Deduction
Lacking subdermal melanin (blue gray background) -5
Excessive orange (>50% coverage of body) -5
Lacking surface melanin on body (spots and speckles) -5
Lacking one or more bright red accents on body -5
Excessive surface melanin (midnight calico) -3
Large region(s) of contiguous metallic scales -5

Overall balance and deportment 25

Fault Description Point Deduction
Listing to one side while swimming -5
Twisted spine -5
Swimming with head tilted up or down -5

Tail/Finnage 20

Fault Description Point Deduction
Undivided tail -5
Incorrect tail type (e.g. broadtail, butterfly, or ranchu type). Must be top view fringe tail DQ
Kinked fin rays/twisted or upturned fins or tail lobes -5
Weak or drooping tail that does not open when fish is at rest -5
Tail angle to peduncle too small or too large -5
Tail is vertically compressed (side view type) -5
Tail is too flat in horizontal plane, outer lobes not angled downward -5
Tail too rigid/inflexible -5
Tail is too small, disproportionate -5
Tail and fins lacking black markings (dots and stripes) -3

Body 20

Fault Description Point Deduction
Rounded shape/Overly compressed body -5
Body too short/deep to give proper movement of tail -5
Body is wider than head, detracting from rectangular effect -5
Body is too thin, fish appears underfed or wispy -5
Body is not tapered into peduncle (too blocky) -5

Head 15

Fault Description Point Deduction
Pointed head shape -5
Any mouth deformity (parrot mouth or concave side) DQ
Underdeveloped head growth (funtan, cheeks, token) -2 per subregion
Curled or open gill covers -5
Wen covers eyes (standard will allow for some variation in wen size and style to account for different lineages (whether derived from Ranchu, Hamanishiki, or other Oranda types) -5

Eyes 5

Fault Description Point Deduction
Uneven eye placement (top view perspective) -5
Uneven size of eyes -5
Protruding eyes (but not telescope) -5
Eyes too large or small for size of fish -5
Missing eye, Telescope eyes, upturned eyes, pinhead small eyes, or pupils, sacs under eyes DQ

Total Points 100