Koi 鯉 nishikigoi 錦鯉
Nishikigoi is the generic name for varieties of carp improved for use as ornamental fish. Breeding and cultivation of the carp began in Niigata Prefecture in the early 19th century. It is also called a “living jewel” and a “swimming work of art”, and is regarded as Japan’s national fish. Koi other than black are called irogoi, especially red Koi are called hiigoi, and those with improved body colours, such as colours and spots, especially as an ornamental fish, are called nishikigoi. Nishikigoi are popular for breeding and are traded at high prices based on their spotted patterns, vivid colours, size and body shape. In contrast, ordinary black carp are called magoi, karasugoi or kurogoi.