Hi Utsuri, a member of the Utsurimono family, are koi with a black (sumi) body and areas of red or orange (hi) pattern overlaying the black. Hi Utsuri are the second most prevalent type of Utsurimono, behind Shiro Utsuri.
While a dark, vibrant red is the preferred color for Hi Utsuri, any Utsuri koi with hi ranging from orange to red and everywhere in between can be considered a Hi Utsuri.
The sumi pattern of Hi Utsuri flows below the lateral line and wraps completely around the body. This differentiates Hi Utsuri from Bekko, in which the sumi pattern appears only above the lateral line.
In Hi Utsuri, the red (hi) patterns should be uniform in shade and tone across the entire body, while the black (sumi) patterns should be a deep, dark, jet-black color. The spacing of the hi and sumi should be balanced along the length of the body and on both sides of the dorsal fin. The hi should compliment and emphasize the sumi, and should never distract from it.
Preferably, Hi Utsuri should have sumi starting at the mouth or nose and spaced intermittently all the way to the base of the tail. Additionally, Hi Utsuri should have patches of sumi starting at the base of both pectoral fins and spreading out across a portion of the fins, a trait known as "motoguro". The black striped fins found in Bekko varieties are considered a flaw in Hi Utsuri.
The highest quality Hi Utsuri have a head that is both black and red with a clear, crisp edge between the black and red. This trait is known as "menware". While menware is highly sought after in the Hi Utsuri variety, the lack of menware does not necessarily ruin a Hi Utsuri.
Hi Utsuri are born completely black, and the hi pattern emerges from the black as the koi ages. For this reason, do not immediately overlook young Hi Utsuri who have an orange or orangeish-red hi pattern. It is likely that the orange hi will darken and intensify toward a more desirable red hi as the koi ages. Furthermore, be cautious of young Hi Utsuri that appear to be a miniature version of the perfect Hi Utsuri adult. Young Hi Utsuri almost always develop more sumi as they age.
A common fault of Hi Utsuri is hi on the head of the koi that is much darker than the hi on the rest of the body. This will divide the uniform look that is desired in Hi Utsuri, and will detract from the overall beauty of the koi.
Also, be on the lookout for black specks in the hi (known as "shimi"). Shimi will detract from the overall beauty of a Hi Utsuri, and will become more apparent as the koi ages and increases in size.
For more Hi Utsuri images, check out the Hi Utsuri Image Gallery and Butterfly Hi Utsuri Image Gallery.