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Kumonryu Kumonryu


The Kumonryu is a Doitsu (German) koi that has a jet black pattern that emerges like billowing black clouds against a white background. The black pattern is variable and unstable, disappearing with changes in the water temperature, reappearing sometimes as a completely different pattern.

The name Kumonryu is derived from a legend that tells of a dragon (Ryu) transforming into a cloud and racing through the sky.

The Kumonryu is said to have been developed by breeding a Shusui with a Matsukawa Bakke.


The following article was written by Joel Burkard/Pan Intercorp and previously published in PONDSCAPES magazine All rights reserved Joel Burkard/Pan Intercorp 1995

The category of KAWARIMONO , literally "different things", contains virtually all of the koi that do not fit into any of the other category. As new breeds are developed, they usually start out in this KAWARIMONO category. When the breed or variety becomes stabilized, it is sometimes awarded a new category of it's own in order to give it the recognition it deserves.

The Kumonryu was fully recognized in 1994 with a category of it's own at the All Japan Combined Nishikigoi show. The Kumonryu, which means "Nine Crested Dragon", is a most fascinating koi in that it's sumi (black) is basically unstable and can appear or disappear without any warning. The Kumonryu is of the Doitsu (German) lineage, and has either large mirror scales along the dorsal and lateral line ,or no scales at all. It's snow white base with jet black sumi patterns sometimes remind us of Killer Whales.

Because the sumi is unstable, the Kumonryu's pattern can change at the drop of a hat, from all white, to completely black, with every imaginable variation in between. Although it is still uncertain what exactly causes the changes, contributing factors can be : water temperature, water change, water quality, ph change, diet, sexual maturity, stress and so on and so forth.

The ever changing nature of the pattern is probably what makes this koi such a joy to own. When the sumi pattern is under the white waiting to emerge, it can give the skin a bluish hue. I have seen Kumonryu with patterns that changed so slowly that they seemed almost stable, and others that underwent radical changes within the course of a few weeks.

When selecting a Kumonryu for your pond, concentrate on finding a koi with good body confirmation and pay attention to deformities of the tail and pectoral fins which often occur in this variety. It should be noted here that Judges will often overlook minor irregularities of the pectoral fins in Kumonryu. In view of the fluid nature of the pattern, it is more important to pay more attention to the depth and quality of the sumi. Ask your dealer what bloodline he usually has in stock or can recommend, as bloodline is ultimately the single most determining factor in any koi development.

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