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Wakins are technically goldfish.


The Japanese wakin (Carassius auratus), pronounced (WAH-KEEN). Wakin is the most common, least expensive goldfish found in Japan. Calling this fish a "Japanese wakin goldfish" is actually redundant, since "wakin" in Japanese literally means "Japanese Goldfish".

The Wakin is the same species as the common Goldfish (like Lucky). However, it is very different in appearance. The double caudal (tail) fin is just one characteristic that makes the Wakin so unique and especially beautiful when viewed from above in a pond setting.

The wakin, with its fantail, is a true mutation originally discovered in China. The wakin ancestor is thought to be the first type of goldfish brought into Japan around 1500AD. A precious luxury of the Nippon elite, after two centuries of selection in Japan this fantailed fish became the namesake goldfish of Japan becoming known generally as the "wakin", or the Japanese goldfish. It is thought most of the fancy fantailed goldfish have arisen from the original wakin ancestral mutation.

The Wakin is ideally suited for fish ponds. It is a very hardy and strong fish. It's a rather odd looking fish when viewed from the side, having a deep rounded body, but from above these fish are gorgeous, with their long body and fantail. This makes them perfect for ponds, where fish are predominantly viewed from above. Like a koi, the wakin looks it's best when viewed from above.

These fish are fast swimmers; they are very capable of obtaining food when competing with other singletailed fish in the pond.


Wakins typically come in red and white. The patterns can develop to look much like a Kohaku Koi, with the added beauty of the patterned fantail. Patterns range from nearly all red, to mostly white with a slight red patterning. Each Wakin is different, and individuals can be easily identified.

KOI - Kohaku

Friendly and intelligent, the Wakin can be quickly tamed; making them wonderful inhabitants for ponders who love to spend time with their fish, very much like Koi. They learn very quickly to come when called at feeding time.

An importer mentioned that wakin are the healthiest fish he deals with after a shipment arrives from Japan or China. They arrive in great condition looking no worse for wear after the long trip compared to the less hardy fancy goldfish. Experts experience has also been very good… ...it is very easy to maintain these fish. Any size pond can successfully accommodate wakin, unlike koi, which do best in larger deep ponds.

These have been documented to grow as large as 18 inches. Sizes can vary from 8"-18" depending on the size of the pond.

Peduncle Flash

Most Wakin display what we call "peduncle flash". The peduncle is the fleshy area of the tail where the caudal fin attaches to the body. Wakin have a broad peduncle at the end. As they swim, the scales on this broad area will catch the light and "flash", or reflect the light. This adds another element to the beauty of a Wakin in a pond setting. Some consider this an important element when grading Wakin for ponds. There is a point where the peduncle and tail can be too flat and broad, however, resulting in the fish having difficulty swimming, but there is an ideal degree of fanning you should look for in your fish. You can see peduncle flash in the fish pictured below (look for the red circles).


Because of how strong Wakin are and so very easy to breed, the Japanese have used the Wakin to develop the more highly prized and much more expensive Jikin.

As we said, the Jikin has been bred from the Wakin, their body shape is almost the same, except you don't see the deep thick body and deep red color on a Jikin like you would on a Wakin. The body of a Jikin is more cigar shaped. And the red color of a Jikin is much more faded than that of a Wakin, even before they are 'MADE', (a term used when all the red scales have been removed with a small bamboo tool, one scale at a time).

Let me tell you a little more about the ''MADE'' process. As I said the scales are removed one scale at a time, only removing six to seven scales at a sitting, then the fish is rested for about a week or two, then six to seven more scales are removed, this process is repeated until all the red scales are removed from both sides of their body. Because removing the Red scales is so time consuming, young Jikins with the least red on them are kept to be ''MADE", Jikins with a lot of red on them are culls and discarded or given away. A good "MADE " Jikin will have a white body with red lips and all red fins including the tail, red scales under the belly and on the gill covers are acceptable.



The most distinctive characteristic of all that sets the Jikin apart from a Wakin is their unique Four Leaf Clover Tail. Less than 25% of all the Jikins born have this clover leaf tail and less than that have the combination of red lips, red fins and a red tail. Add this to the time consuming "Made" process and you can see why the Jikins are much more prized and by far much more expensive than the common Wakin.
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