な!ナガオカ

The carp of Yamakoshi , a swimming jewel , has captured the attention of a overseas millionaire . Why?

山古志錦鯉長岡
山古志錦鯉長岡
2018年 7月 18日 | な!ナガオカ スタッフ

これは、2016年11月11日に公開された記事、「泳ぐ宝石・山古志の錦鯉~世界の富豪を魅了する理由に迫る」海外向けに英語訳したものです。

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.”

The right: Mr.Toshikatsu Igarashi of Marusada Carp Farm, The left: Mr.Mark Gardner .

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.

Mr.Mark was having a pleasant chat. with his journalist friend , Ms Dominica (the right).She is a Poles, and the resident in Belgium.

——- 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.”

Mark takes photographs of the site that he operates. The koi is the model for him . He is a skillful photograph who could photograph the carps while in motion

——- 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.

Joseph Beltram visiting Yamakosh to buy the carps. He was in wood business but he gradually switched job to become carp buyer .

—— 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.”

While watching the Koi fry being moved from the pond to the water tank in preparation for winter , Toshikatsu Igarashi and Josef speak to each other happily, “lt will have good color in the future.”

At the auction site of carp in Yamakoshi. The carps are put in a plastic bag, and will be exhibited in the auction from now on. Josef, “ I’m looking at the appearance of the carp.”

——- 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”

The photo shows the competitive exhibition which was held before an auction is carried out in Yamakoshi More than 70% of buyers in auction foreigners from all over the world and various languages are used for communication.

 

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!

The scenery of the beautiful terraced rice fields & carp ponds have attracted many foreigners who visit Yamakoshi.

 

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
[email]:nousei@city.nagaoka.lg.jp
[HP]http://www.city.nagaoka.niigata.jp/sangyou/cate04/nishikigoi.html
The reference to the carp breeders : List of Nagaoka-city carp culture association members (Yamakoshi District ) http://www.yamakoshi.org/culture/culture04/culture04-3/
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