Sanke are white Koi with solid red and black patterns on the body. The head of a Sanke is normally red and white only. Black patterns are most likely to appear above the lateral lines, any with almost no visible white is called an Aka Sanke.
Other Sanke names are red pattern based. Some of the offspring showed small black spots. Because this occurred in the Japanese Taisho era, Sanke, first called Shima Sanke because of the striped fins, became Taisho Sanke.Red and white patterns on a Sanke can be the same as a Kohaku.
An acceptable exception is the Aka Sanke, where almost the entire Koi is red with black patterns. The quality of the black is a must feature, it should look like black coal, dense and glossy, and the scales should not be visible in black patterns.
Pattern edges, particularly trailing edges should be sharply defined.
Black may appear over red or white patterns, when over red, leading edges of black patterns should also look very sharp; if over white then a small amount of blurring is quite acceptable, this provides a 3D look to the pattern. Black over white is preferred but not essential, as that way round seems to be more elegant.
The size of the black pattern elements changes over time. Black patterns should be neatly arranged along the back, ideally beginning with large markings on the shoulder.
Sanke koi can have poor colour quality with thin dull-looking black areas and small black freckles that never improve. They can also have black pattern related problems, for example, uneven balance; head to tail or side to side.
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