According to Carl Jung, the father of modern analytical psychology, there are enough repeating patterns in human behaviors that they seem to transcend culture and race. Indeed, he believed that there are 12 archetypal traits that formed part of a person’s psychological makeup.
This “collective unconscious” makes some traits familiar to us, and something that we relate to immediately.
What’s that got to do with koi? It may help to explain why you are often drawn to one koi over another. Sure, you may have a pond full of diverse koi, but what about the big chagoi that got you into the hobby and has survived three pH crashes as well as a costia outbreak? Or the plucky little Kujaku that refuses to be squeezed out at feeding time by the bigger fish? These little things that you admire could potentially tell you a little about your personality traits, too.
Also known as the dreamer or the Romantic, by nature these owners are trusting and optimistic. There is only one glass—and it’s half full. They are seekers of unfettered and simple pleasures. Happiness follows them naturally as their pursuits are not complex.
Innocents will be drawn to a natural, unpretentious koi that appreciates a good meal and a little pond space to navigate.
Butterfly Platinum Ogon
With its white and silver simplicity, the Platinum Ogon embodies a beautiful purity that flows with the water it lives in. It is innocence personified in koi form.
This archetype goes by a lot of different handles like the Common Man, the Orphan, the Regular Guy, but they are all the same thing. Enthusiasts of this type embody friendliness and reliability. They are down to earth and not boat rockers (although with their natural size, they could be). Their journey involves others where they are happy to be part of the collective effort that works for all.
These naturally bigger koi are proto-koi, as one of the original types of ornamental koi. Being monochromatic, Chagoi rarely stand out in a crowd They are often the first to hand feed and are great pond mates with their easy going nature. They are the original “needs of the many” koi.
As you could more than likely guess, this archetype—the Superhero or Warrior—has a never say die attitude. Out in front and leading by example, enthusiasts in this category expect things and exhibit behavior that will always put them in the limelight.
They are superior and they know it. They like everyone else to know it too, so they look and act the part. Coming second is not in their worldview.
Armor Scaled Butterfly Kikokuryu
This koi comes naturally girt for battle. This armor scale pattern makes it a natural warrior and stands out amongst its peers—even in the same category.
Again, no real surprises here. The Nurturer, the Parent, the Saint, you will probably find that whichever koi this owner has, it will be meticulously cared for, and the pond will be a vision fit for the cover of pond magazines.
The caregiver koi enthusiast would more than likely go without food to be able to afford food for their koi. Sleepless nights worrying about an outbreak of Pseudomonas after seeing a scrape on an 8” Showa are also part of a caregiver’s experience.
As one of the “older” types of koi, a Soragoi is one of the hardier types of koi. Although it may not stand out amongst its flashier peers, a Soragoi is a natural salve to those more skittish koi in the group and will help those more reclusive koi join the group and come to meal time.
One who seeks or wanders with a purpose, this archetypal koi owner is always drawn to new adventure. Whether it’s adding to the pond, updating with new landscaping, or installing a bog filter to go with the bottom drain, this koi owner will continue to probe boundaries and look for new horizons.
Boxes and labels aren’t their thing. Going beyond the walls of the box and new challenges get them going.
As a relatively new variety—one that is still being developed and refined—a Kin Kikokuryu allows for a lot of new and exciting ground to be covered before its potential is fully realized.
The Intimate, the Sensualist and the Enthusiast will look for those things that, well, look good or appeal to their visual sense. Having nice (and attractive) stuff makes them look good by extension. But it isn’t a shallow veneer of beauty; it is seated in creating an environment where beauty surrounds all in the relationship.
Lovers are drawn to koi that naturally love to pair up with other koi, but also a koi that glistens and shines amongst its peers, making it more physically attractive.
As a somewhat difficult koi to find, Ki Bekko hold their own allure beyond just being a bright and attractive fish. This extra desirability is driven by its limited edition tag, making a Lover’s delight.
Revolt, non-conformity and rule breaking are all part of daily life for this archetype. They are attracted to the unconventional and even revel in it. What type of koi would Sid Vicious have, you might ask? Probably none, but if he did, it would probably have sharp teeth and wouldn’t have been popular with the mods.
Rebel enthusiasts are probably most likely to ask which koi is least desirable or will not sell, and then sit and watch that koi while drinking petite sirah or Iron City Lite.
The whole beginning of this type of koi would appeal to the Revolutionary. It is fabled to be a British “accident,” created when a common carp was crossed with an ornamental koi in the 80s, producing a hardy and metallic koi. Although Ghost Koi have gained some popularity, this is not a koi that is generally considered a desirable option for a purist’s pond. Simply to swim against the current, they will have one of these in their pond.
Dreaming, making art, the Creator wants to leave his mark through great works—works that amaze and astound those that get to behold them.
The Creator koi keeper will look for a koi that inspires and gets the creative juices flowing. They will look for swimming artistry and forms that will spawn spontaneous creativity.
The blue pattern and orange pattern of a Shusui, as well as the row of scales, invites the creation of numerous different combinations. Which will delight the sensibilities of a Creator.
Rulers rule. They are at the top of their class through personality and hard work. They seek to provide order in the midst of the chaos. They are out in front as they believe in pulling, not pushing.
The Ruler koi keeper will ensure that their pond is always stocked with koi that imply power or authority. They will more than likely come from good or quality brood stock and be well taken of. Their koi will not be Petsmart purchases.
This is a power fish from the Gosanke class. Usually first across the line in shows and competitions, A Kohaku is attributed to winning and—by extension—so will its owner.
The Magician koi enthusiast is into transformation—especially the way the world is viewed. As a shamanic and a visionary, this koi keeper is driven by the mystical. They look to accomplish what is beyond the normal realm and are drawn to what seems impossible, or at the very least implausible.
With the ability to change colors and patterns, a Kumonryu appeals to the Magician’s capacity to alter the way things are seen. Whereas most are perplexed as to why a Kumonryu shifts or transforms from one color to different one entirely, the Magician koi owner marvels at it and embraces it.
This is the consummate learner, using their knowledge to inform. Sage koi keepers will like to keep an open mind and will most definitely be one of the most researched and learned about koi. They will seek out and learn from the best and brightest in the koi keeping world and use the info to help others in the hobby.
From one of the “ruling classes” of koi (Gosanke), the three colors make Showa a little more complex than the Kohaku. The Showa’s origins and its parentage would spark the intrigue of the Sage as well as how it develops and blossoms over time.
Known as a trickster and a joker, the Jester is the one who likes to spark—and be the life—of the party. Not afraid to speak their mind to get a laugh and lower guards, the Jester lives for fun.
Playful at heart, with a mischievous twinkle never far from the eye, the Jester koi enthusiast will look for a koi that immediately brings out the fun side of life.
As the only green-hued koi, many consider Midorigoi to be somewhat quirky—something to which the Jester koi keeper will immediately be drawn. It makes for a cool, but sometimes silly, addition to a pond.
There are many other fantastic and intriguing koi types—some have scales and some are “scaleless.” You might even feel that your arkoitype is different. We’d love to know which koi you think best represents your personality and why.