Bekko includes Shiro Bekko, Aka Bekko and Ki Bekko. Bekko are not bred as a group, they only appear ‘accidentally’ from Sanke spawnings, so they are effectively rare Koi. Unfortunately, they are also not very popular, so not many are seen.
Defining features White (shiro), red (beni, hi, aka) or yellow (ki) non-metallic Koi with black markings on the body. No black should appear on the head of a Bekko, although small markings are seen occasionally. All fins may carry light black stripes (tejima or tezumi). Black patterns on the body are usually above the lateral lines.
Origin Modern Shiro and Aka Bekko occasionally appear among the offspring of Sanke spawnings. The early history of Bekko is largely unknown and the group is not bred as a variety.
Basic appreciation points
• Despite their general unpopularity, Bekko have a distinct charm all of their own. Although quite plain in appearance, if the base colour is a pure colour and cleanly finished, a nicely shaped Bekko can look very special, especially if achieving a large size.
• White should look snowy white from nose to tail, showing no stains or small black speckles. On an Aka or the extremely rare Ki Bekko, the base red or yellow should look even and strongly coloured. No white areas should be visible on the head or body of an Aka Bekko, or the Koi is classified as an Aka Sanke.
• Black patterns are expected to be relatively small, rounded and neatly arranged along the back in a ‘stepping-stone’ pattern, ideally beginning with a distinctive shoulder marking.
• High-quality black looks dense and lustrous with a bluish tone.
• Pattern edges should be neatly defined towards the tail (kiwa of sumi) and for a Shiro Bekko, show a narrow blue border at the leading edge where white overlays black (sashi of sumi). On an Aka Bekko, all black pattern edges should look sharp. To see sashi here would indicate thin red.
• Yellowing of the white skin on Shiro Bekko, particularly males.
• Stress-related problems – the white skin of Shiro Bekko looks bloodshot or pink.
• Black patterns can be either too light, scattered as many small spots, or too extensive and heavy. Bekko must look neat.
• Black pattern edges may look jagged and untidy. Good kiwa of sumi is difficult to achieve.