Asagi are koi with a blue, net-like reticulated pattern across the back, accentuated by areas of red (hi) on the gill plates, pectoral fins, belly, tail, and possibly around the dorsal fin. Asagi is one of the oldest koi varieties, and many varieties seen in the koi industry today were created by crossbreeding Asagi bloodlines with other varieties.
In 1910, a man named Yoshigoro Akiyama crossed Asagi with a German Mirror Carp to produce Shusui, the first doitsu (scaleless) Koi breed ever established. These Doitsu Asagi are discussed further on the Shusui page.
The blue reticulated net pattern that covers the body is by far the most dominant feature of Asagi, and therefore is the most crucial factor in the appearance of this type. The pattern is created by scales with dark blue centers and edges of lighter blue or white. The blue color created by the pattern can range in hues from a very dark, almost bluish-gray color to a very light blue. In Asagi, the lighter blue colors are generally preferred over the dark blues.
The highest quality Asagi have a perfectly uniform and even net pattern starting just behind the head and extending all the way down the body, with very few or no interruptions or blemishes in the pattern. The net pattern will generally grow darker as an Asagi ages, so look for young Asagi with a light blue pattern.
The red (hi) markings of Asagi are generally an orange-red or rust-colored red, a color that is darker and more subtle than the bright, vibrant hi typically seen on Kohaku, Sanke, and Showa. Ideally, the hi should only appear on the gill plates, pectoral fins, belly, and tail fin. Red eyes are also desirable. The hi on the belly of an Asagi will generally move further up toward the dorsal line as the koi ages, so look for young Asagi with hi starting low on the belly.
Preferably, the head of an Asagi should be an even bluish-gray color, and should be clear with no blemishes or marks. However, Asagi with a truly perfect and clear head are quite rare. The skull will almost always show through in the head of young Asagi. For this reason, examine the nose when inspecting young Asagi. If the nose is clear and blemish free, the head will generally clear up and the visible skull will disappear as the koi matures.
Similar to Kohaku, Asagi with a head that is mostly or competely covered in red are referred to as Menkaburi Asagi. This and other variations of Asagi are detailed in the table below.
For more Asagi images, check out the Asagi Image Gallery and Butterfly Asagi Image Gallery.