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Bekko loosely translates to “separate” in Japanese, but a more exact translation is “tortoise shell.” This references the koi’s spotted, two-toned pattern and coloration. This variety is almost always created when breeding for Sanke koi; inevitably, because koi breeding is such a complex and fickle thing and these two varieties are so similar, two Sanke will almost always have some Bekko offspring.


The Bekko is a solid-colored non-metallic koi fish with black (sumi) spots on the body. They are produced in three colors; white, red, and yellow.

  • Shiro Bekko: is a clean white koi fish with the addition of black spots.
  • Aka Bekko: is a red or orange koi with black spots.
  • Ki Bekko: is a yellow koi fish with black spots. Yellow version is the rarest.


Bekko Koi Fish South Africa


Nowadays we seldom come across Ki Bekko, and a.k.a. Bekko don’t seem to win upper prizes unless they have considerably high-quality red and well-balanced Sumi. Accordingly, we can reasonably assume the term “Bekko” is usually used to mean Shiro Bekko. Both Shiro Bekko and Shiro Utsuri have black and white markings only, and the white ground must be milky white so as to bring Sumi out into prominence.

The white ground in the head region is especially liable to amber discoloration. Koi with jet-black markings on the milky white skin which covers the whole body look indescribably refined. Bekko comes from the breeding of Taisho Sanke. Although Taisho Sanke and Bekko are categorized as different varieties at koi shows, they are actually brothers and sisters. Bekko has only black and white colors with no red (Hi) pattern and is of a simple stepping stone pattern.


Ideal Pattern


The most desirable color pattern is one that is elegant and simple, with miniature sumi markings that are spread over the fish’s body evenly. Despite this, the head of the fish should not display sumi markings of any kind, and should have the same color shade as the body. It is quite challenging to locate one that is “bald” and free of any head patterns since any blemishes which are present will be easy to see through the skin and scalp. In rare cases, miniature sumi markings might be accepted if it has a pattern that complements the remainder of the fish’s body. Many koi collectors enjoy the black Tancho mark, although a fish that has this mark would not usually be classified as traditional Tancho since the markings need to be red.


Non-Traditional Bekko Koi Fish Scales


Both varieties are produced with non-traditional scale variations. Occasionally you may see a Bekko or Utsuri with Doitsu scales. This name, or description, is added as a prefix when scales are present only on the spine, along the lateral lines, or in both locations; Doitsu Shiro Bekko. The Doitsu scales are usually bigger than common koi scales. Likewise, the term Gin Rin precedes the variety name when the fish has shiny, light-reflecting scales: Gin Rin Shiro Utsuri. Usually, Gin Rin scales cover the koi’s body completely.


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