Akita dog puppies, c. 1910.
“Japan, where the culture of goldfish has been highly developed, is regarded as the home of goldfish. Because of their beauty of shape and color goldfish are bred by goldfish fanciers and commercial breeders, and are especially prized for their graceful appearance and for their brilliant coloring. While there are many varieties of this fish the most popular are:
- Wakin: Bright in color, with a longer body than other varieties. Short fin and tail, Wakin more resemble a carp or gibel than they do a real goldfish;
- Ryukin: Short, round body with a swaying fantail. It is a sturdy fish and easy to keep;
- Ranchu: Its special feature is that it has a dorsal fin and has a large head covered in small knobs. Its peculiar face makes one think of a bulldog’s face – in fact, it is called ‘bull-dog’ by foreign fanciers of goldfish. It has an oval-shaped body and a broad back which should curve gently from neck to tail. Under proper feeding and water conditions this fish may live as long as 20 years;
- Oranda Shishi Gashira: Oranda is the Japanese word for Holland and the goldfish name signifies something foreign. It is a half-breed: half Ryukin and half Ranchu. It has the head knobs of the Ranchu and may be described as a Ranchu with a dorsal fin. Full grown this fish sometimes measures about a foot in length;
- Shina-kin or Deme-kin: (‘Goggle-eyed goldfish’): The name Shina-kin means Chinese goldfish. In appearance these fish generally resemble the Wakin – apart from their characteristic eyes, of which there are two types: one having eyes that project sidewise; the other with protruding eyes that look forward. This fish is either black with white speckles or a yellowish red.
“In 1932 there were exported to the United States 2,700,000 goldfish, worth ¥405,000. The Ryukin type constitutes more than 50 percent of the exports.”
– We Japanese, Vol. 2, by H. S. K. Yamaguchi, Miyanoshita Fujiya Hotel, 1937