CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Shirleen Horimoto of the Hawaii Goldfish and Carp association calls the carp above the ugliest one of the bunch, but he's very eager to get his photo taken. CLICK FOR LARGE
Those who covet koi convene for the first annual show Sunday
» Koi hobbyists are a determined bunch
HANAKO -- the world's oldest koi -- lived to the ripe old age of 226 in a pond at the base of Mount Ontake in Japan. When Hanako died in 1977, the fish's age was determined by counting the annual rings on its scales, a task undertaken by a specialist with a light microscope.
OHANA KOI & GOLDFISH SHOW
» When: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday
» Place: Honolulu Country Club, tennis courts
» Admission: Free
» Call: Guy Kmett, 371-3622
Facts like this one have fascinated Gary Hironaka and fueled his interest in raising Japanese carp since he was about 14 years old. He has even lived and worked on koi farms in Japan.
Hironaka's studies led him to establish his own company, Nikkei Koi, a Hawaii-based koi importer. A couple of years ago, he left medical school to pursue his passion full time, expanding his facilities.
Hironaka is sponsoring the First Annual Koi and Goldfish Show through the koi club that is believed to be the world's oldest, the Hawaii Goldfish and Carp Association, established in 1959. Back then, the word "koi" did not exist. Koi were known as nishikigoi (brocade carp) in Japan.
It's been 20 years since the last local koi show; club members blame a lack of interest and money for the long gap.
Hironaka, along with association members, hopes to rekindle the passion of koi enthusiasts, reestablish Hawaii as a provider of high quality koi and increase public awareness of the koi industry.