Utsurimono are often confused with the Bekko varieties due to their similar colouration. The difference between them is that Utsuri are black Koi with red, white or yellow markings. Whereas Bekko are white koi with black or yellow markings. Unlike the Bekko they also have sumi markings on the head which reaches down to the nose.
The Shiro Utsuri is a black Koi with white markings. It is desirable for the sumi to be jet black and the white to be pure. The cleaner the white the better.
The Hi Utsuri is a black Koi with red markings. The Hi should be uniform in shade. This can be difficult to find as the red on the head is often darker.
The Ki Utsuri is a black Koi with yellow markings. Finding good quality fish is difficult as not as many are produced.
With all varieties there should be solid sumi in the base of each fin.
The history of utsurimono is not very clear. It is known that black koi with yellow markings were around about 1870-75 and were called kuro-ki-han. They were renamed Ki in 1920 by Eizaburo Hoshino. Shiro Utsuri were first produced around 1925 and it is believed they are of Magoi lineage.
Good quality Utsuri are not as readily available as many other varieties but they make a striking addition to any collection.
For more information on Koi Varieties please see our Guide