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Thursday, May 30, 2013

MerLion Arowana Blog 13 - Ranchu Journey V - Judging Ranchu

MerLion Arowana Blog 13 - Ranchu Journey V - Judging Ranchu  

  • During my ranchu-crazy day...I would scour everywhere...hunting for information that would increase my knowledge on ranchu. Simply, because no one could really provide me with an "A-Z" knowledge on ranchu. It was frustrating! It was like I knew the "width" about ranchu through learning from the many ranchu breeders...but not the "depth" about ranchu. 

    However, my thirst was quenched when I chanced upon this book by Yushio Wantanabe San. In it, he has clearly defined how to judge and how to appreciate the ranchu. This formed a basic criteria for any ranchu breeder to follow when considering the final outcome of his breeding effort.

    This book has not only touched on ranchu but also many other goldfish varieties. I believe, for many ranchu maniac like me, we are attracted to many other varieties of goldfish too. To me, this was the best goldfish book among the many other books that I have bought.

    However, the book focus was only on Japanese bred goldfish and has not included the goldfish bred in Thailand and China. These two other countries have numerous avid goldfish fans too. If there is a  book on Thailand and China goldish that can provide similar topics as this book has, it will greatly enhance the knowlege of those hobbyists. At the sametime, provides an overall view of the world goldfish hobby/industry. Maybe, someday I will do it??

    Abstracted from the book...


    The Buffalohead develops the Wen on its head and has no dorsal find and is oftern called the "King of Goldfish".

    (a) Head

    The Wen of the Buffalohead is the result of a thickening of the skin on its head, gill cover and around its eyes. The fish that has equal thickening on these three areas can exactly be called a "Lionhead". The species with the well developed Wen and well balanced face and head is considered good.

    (b) Back and Caudal Penduncle

    The back should be wide and smoothly curved when viewed from the side; when seen from the front it should swell equally right and left. The Caudal Penduncle should be thick and be in the correct position.
    The tail should be attached to its Caudal Penduncle at an angle of about 45 degrees and should neither droop nor stand erect. As for the length of the tail, the shorter the better. While swimming, the lower part of the Caudaul fin flutters but when the fish stop swimming, the tail still shows its whole shape. This variety of Goldfish has either Triple Tail or Quandruple Tail but in both the shape should should be bisymmetrical so that the fish can swim smoothly.

    (c) Scales

    Generally, the scales of the fish should be lined reguarly. Although some enthusiasts believeit is better to have some variation in the arrangement of the scales and this is an important point for evaluation.

    (d) Colour
    The body colour of the Buffalohead shoud be red and white.

    - Japan Baffalohead Association

    Article 1.              

    In judging, special attention should be paid to the following: -

    1. There should be a good balance between the head, body and tail.
    2. The fish should be large and strong.
    3. The scales should be lined neatly and regularly without confusion. Each of the scales should be as small as possible; their colour should be deep and golden with a healthy appearance whether the body colour is red, white or red and white.
    4. The fish should maintain its aristocratic dignity.
    5. The fish should swim gracefully as well as lightly fluttering its tail. There should be no jerk to its movement.

    Article 2.

    How to evaluate each area of the body:-

    1. Head – The fish should have a wide space between the eyes and have also a wide space between the eye and the mouth. It can have various types of Wen referred as “Tokin (Helmet Gold)” and “Tatsugashira (Dragon Head)”.
    2. Back – The back should be wide, round and have a smooth curvature.
    3. Abdomen – The fish should have a good space between the abdomen and the tail.
    4. Caudal Peduncle – The Caudal Peduncle should be as thick and robust as the back is wide. There should be a roundness at the tail point.
    5. Tail – The tail should be attached to the body in an elegant manner and its shape, bisymmetrical. The fish should use its tail skillfully. The tail should rise up at an angle of about 90 degrees to the Caudal Peduncle. There are 3 types: Triple Tail, Quadruple Tail and Cheery Blossom Tail.
    6. Fins – The fins should be well balance in their size and movements.

    Article 3.

    In judging Goldfish, the size of the fish should never be taken into consideration.

    Article 4.

    The fish should be judged by how good or bad they are on the day of judging.
    Additional clause: Names of colour for the goldfish body are ruled as follows:

    1. Red: gold, vermilion, red
    2. White: white, silver
    3. Calico : red dominated calico, white dominated calico, white lower back, red back and white abdomen.
    4. Patterns on the head: “Menkaburi”, white face, calico face, red head, “Ryoyakko”, red mouth, window and “Kigarashi”.

    Article 5.

    The fish too large or immature to any refinement or dignity will receive a cut in marks.

    Reading through all the points mentioned above...makes appreciating and judguing ranchu look easy. But the truth is...very difficult. That is why a japanese ranchu breeder can only be promoted to a local judge after joining the local association for at least 5 years. For any All Japan Ranchu Compeition judge, he must have at least 10 years of judging experience.

    It is easy to comment whether a piece of ranchu is beautiful or not. But extremely difficult to judge why it is different from the rest of the ranchu. Supposedy, if all good ranchu is placed together, how to judge which is superior?  How to see beyond the physical appearance of each ranchu? 

    There are many ranchu breeders but not all of them can be promoted to be the Judge or Judge of Judges. Why? There are many ranchu breeders but only a few top breeders work are being recongnised. Why? There are some question I hope the ranchu and arowana hobbyist can ask themselves and find out the truth!

    1515hrs 26th May 2013