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Hi Utsuri, a member of the Utsurimono family, are koi with a black body and areas of red or orange pattern overlaying the black.
While a dark, vibrant red is the preferred color for Hi Utsuri, any Utsuri koi with patttern ranging from orange to red and everywhere in between can be considered a Hi Utsuri.
The black 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/orange patterns should be uniform in shade and tone across the entire body, while the black patterns should be a deep, dark, jet-black color. The spacing of the red and black should be balanced along the length of the body and on both sides of the dorsal fin. The red should compliment and emphasize the black, and should never distract from it.
Preferably, Hi Utsuri should have black 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 black 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 red 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 will darken and intensify toward a more desirable red as the koi ages.