- 1 Seasonal Use, Exceptions & Pairings
- 2 Motif Examples
- 3 Motif in Literature & Other Usage
- 4 Article Notes
Kingyo have been bred for various different colors, body shapes, fin and eye configurations. In Japan, emphasis is placed on the beauty of viewing the kingyo from the top down and perfecting a lineage, unlike in China where breeders favor new mutations and viewing the fish from the side as well as the top.
Originally a status symbol pet of the wealthy and sophisticated, kingyo under went a democratization and were available to everyone by the end of the Edo period. They remain popular pets today as they have excellent eyesight and learning skills, which allows them to distinguish between different humans and learn tricks with positive reinforcement..
Seasonal Use, Exceptions & Pairings
Kingyo are associated with summer matsuri. Kingyo sukui (金魚掬い) is a game where one tries to pick up a live goldfish with a rice paper scoop and place it in a bowl. If you succeed, you win the goldfish. Kingyo sukui has been played since the late Edo Period at the turn of the 19th century. It came to be associated with matsuri stalls in the Taisho Period.
Common Motif Pairings
Kingyo sounds like "much gold (kin)." This preserves the earlier Chinese auspicious meaning of jīnyú (金鱼, goldfish) in which the word gold (金, jīn) is combined with the word for fish (鱼, yú) that is homophonous with the word for surplus or abundance (余, yú).
Identification & Style Variations
The most common fish depicted on yukata are kingyo. Kingyo are often stylized to emphasize their cute attributes and most commonly depicted as orange or red. Kingyo are most easily distinguished from koi, by their lack of barbels or "whiskers."
Kingyo Nagoya obi from the collection of Ainokimono
Acrylic kingyo obidome from collection of Ainokimono
Motif in Literature & Other Usage
Yamaguchi prefecture is known for its mingei handicraft of kingyo-chochin, goldfish lanterns, which were first made around the beginning of the Meiji period. Kingyo are also popular decorations for furin and other bells.
|引越しのた||hikkoshi no ta-||Every time we move|
|びに大きく||-bi ni ookiku||the goldfish|
|なる金魚||naru kingyo||grows bigger|
- Hoshino Tsunehiko (星野恒彦)
Relevant Threads / Discussions
- Link to any relevant threads on IG
- Wikipedia Article on Goldfish. Accessed on January 10, 2017.
- World Kigo Database Article on Koi and Kingyo. Accessed January 10, 2017.
Authors & Contributors
Author/s: tzippurah (IG Username)