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Shiro Utsuri, the most prevalent and popular variety of the Utsurimono family, are koi with a black base and areas of white pattern overlaying the black.
Like all Utsurimono, the black of a Shiro Utsuri should extend below the lateral line and wrap all the way around the body.
In Shiro Utsuri, the black should be a deep, dark, jet-black color. The white should be clean, crisp and close to snow-white in mature and finished Shiro Utsuri.
Shiro Utsuri are born completely black, with the white patterns developing out of the black as the koi ages. Young Shiro Utsuri will usually have a dull, yellowish or grayish shiro color. Do not immediately discount these young Shiro Utsuri as inferior, as it is probable that the white will develop toward a brighter and more pure white as the koi ages.
Ideally, the black of a Shiro Utsuri should start at the nose or mouth and should be spaced intermittently back to the base of the tail. The pattern created by the balance of the black and white should be balanced along the length of the body, and on both sides of the dorsal fin.
The highest quality Shiro Utsuri have a head that is both black and white, with a clear, crisp edge between the black and white. This trait is known as “menware”. While menware is highly sought after in the Shiro Utsuri variety, the lack of menware does not necessarily ruin a Shiro Utsuri.