The carp of Yamakoshi , a swimming jewel , has captured the attention of a overseas millionaire . Why?
Yamakoshi, 30 minutes drive from downtown Nagaoka –city , Niigata , is the birthplace of carps .
The terraced carp ponds and the terraced rice fields are part of the original landscape of this part of Japan and it is a historical heritage .
A colored carp first appeared in the days (around BUNKA or BUNSEI ) of the Edo era in early 19th century.
The carp in Nijumura township in Niigata Prefecture (part of the present Ojiya city and Nagaoka City) was an edible specie but it later changed color due to mutation.
Carps now have beautiful colors due to continuous efforts to enhance the colors .
The locally produced colored carps have attracted the attention of overseas millionaires. Many foreign buyers who are looking for the beautiful carps are attending a competitive exhibition in Niigata.
The carp of Yamakoshi,has captured the attention of a overseas millionaire . Why?
In order to clarify the truth, I asked Toshikatsu Igarashi, a carp breeder who lives in Yamakoshi, to introduce a foreigner who is visiting a competitive exhibition.
“I have become enamored by the carp and becoming attached to it gradually.”
When Igarashi was first introduced to Mark Gardner .
“Hey, Mark” “Hello, Igarashi-san!” , they were calling out to each other in very friendly manner.
He is a British journalist who runs an English site “NISHIKIGOI LIFE” which specializes on carp.
He knows that not only foreigners come to the fair but also local Yamakoshi people. He always looks at the carps with much love and capture photos of the carps with great enthusiasm. Since he loves carps and Yamakoshi , he has lived there for a year.
——- Why do you like carps?
Mark Gardner , “ I come from Essex in Eastern England . I started to keep Koi when my parents bought some home . I was thirteen then. Initially I thought of carps as ornaments . When I was feeding the carps I began to grow attached to them . I became interested in Yamakoshi when I found out that it was the birthplace of the city . When I was sixteen I began to have a strong desire to go to Yamakoshi .”
“My heart’s desire came true when I was able to come to Yamakoshi for the first time in 2001.
At that time , my only thought was “ to go back to buy koi” . I became addicted to having koi while I was looking at things. I began to visit Japan more often to look for koi . I also went to other regions in Japan but Yamakoshi is the best . So I decided to live in 2007 for a year.”
——- Why did you think that Yamakoshi was the most splendid?
Mark Gardner “Though the scale of each carp farm in Yamakoshi is smaller than the carp farms in Hiroshima and Kyushu , there are more carp farms and they are located near to each other . I can visit them on foot.”
Mark Gardner “Because of the smaller scale, the inquisitive mind of individual breeders is very over and a beautiful new kind of carp with new and interesting improvements is born. Is it exciting? There is only in Yamakoshi such a place in the world (laugh) .”
Beside Mark , many foreign journalists who are interested in carps also came for the Carp Fair. The information they gathered from the fair are very useful to the buyers from all over the world as well as to individuals .
There are a lot of people who became buyers after feasting their eyes on the carps just like one journalist who became a buyer.
By the way, the next is an interview for a buyer.
Carps make me feel at ease.
Joseph Beltram is a German and a carp buyer for 20 years.
Originally he was in wood business, and his hobby was to keep carps.
But he switched his job to become a carp buyer .i
He is a close friend of Mr.Igarashi, and he now visits Yamakoshi many times in a year.
A visitor from Europe came to see the carp in Japan, and he had come to Japan to prepare it
He is going to participate not only in the auction in Yamakoshi but also the auction in Niigata performed in late fall.
—— Why do you like carps?
Josef Bertram “When I was in wood business, I only looked at the carp at night, and it helped me to ease my work stress . My heart calms down when I watch a figure which is swimming elegantly and slowly. But I feel sorry that a lot of people are watching a carp as an object of business recently, not for therapeutic purpose.”
“I spend my approximately 90% time in Yamakoshi , if I come to Japan. I love people of Yamakoshi.”
——- What do you like about people of Yamakoshi ?
Josef Bertram “For me, even though carps are a business to me I still look at them as pets . In this same breath , the carp breeders of Yamakoshi love their carps even though they are breeding the carps for sale.
As for all the people here, though they do not speak much they have a warm heart.
“I love the quiet village in Yamakoshi. When I came for the first time here, I thought that it was really beautiful ,and was impressed. Besides, the seaside called Teradomari near Yamakoshi is good. I have a routine set to eat crab heartily there”
People from overseas praise breeders in Yamakoshi for their passion in breeding carps.
Though the reason why they came to love carp was different, they said , “The carps of Japan are good. Among them, Yamakoshi carps are the best..”
People from overseas praise a carp breeders in Yamakoshi for their passion in breeding carps
Because of the earnest carp breeders in Yamakoshi carp breeding culture is still very much entrenched in the present age. You should definitely come!
Text and Photos: Kumiko Machida / Translated by 8TRIPS
About the event of the carp
[holding period] every year in the New Year and late fall
[reference] Nagaoka city agriculture and forestry Marine Products Division
Agriculture Marine promotion section
［TEL］0258‒39-2223 ［FAX］ 0258-39-2284
The reference to the carp breeders : List of Nagaoka-city carp culture association members (Yamakoshi District ) http://www.yamakoshi.org/culture/culture04/culture04-3/