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There's something about koi I find fascinating - did a little searching around and uncovered this:
The World's Oldest Koi
One of the reasons that the Japanese people value an outstanding Koi is that they consider them to be living jewels. When Koi are purchased, they are looked upon as long lived creatures to be passed down from generation to generation. The story of the oldest recorded Koi is fascinating, and the information below is taken from June 1997 issue of Koi USA magazine. The full story is a transcription of a radio broadcast done by Dr. Koshihara, and first published in "Live Jewels" in 1968. It is reprinted verbatim in Koi USA, and my writing does not do justice to the event.
Hanako is the name of this Koi that lived at the base of Mt. Ontake. When Dr. Koshihara would call Hanako from across the pond, she would come to his feet to be petted on the head. Occasionally he would take her out of the pond and embrace her. This was his favorite spot at the side of the pond, and he went there often.
The pond is located deep in the mountains of the Mino Province. The waters are pure that feed this pond which is less than 20 feet across. Besides Hanako, there are five other fish that swim in this pond, and each is also old. They are 170 years, 155, 151, 141, and another 141 years old. The Koshihara family had been the village head for many generation from the time of the Tokugawa shogunate, and the house and pond had been with the family since the beginning.
Hanako died on July 17, 1977 at the age of 226 years.
How was Hanako's age determined?
Dr.Koshihara was often asked how he could tell the age of the fish, and he responded in the article as follows:
As a tree trunk has its annual rings, so a fish has its annual rings on its scales, and we have only to count them to know the age of a fish. As a matter of course, we ourselves cannot do it. It requires a specialist's aid and the use of a light microscope. Now, what was it that made me think of ascertaining the carp's age?
My grandmother on maternal side, who left this world at the advanced
age of 93 some eight years ago, is said to have been told by her
mother-in-law. "When I was married into this family, my
mother-in-law said to me, that carp has been handed down to us from
olden times; you must take good care of that. When I was told this
story I became very curious to know how long the carp had lived. I
found out Hanako's age by the aforesaid method, but you can easily
imagine how greatly I grieved when I was forced to take a scale off
her beautiful body. I caught her in a net very cautiously, and
repeatedly saying. Excuse me. I took off two scales from different
parts of her body by using a strong pincette. The scales were
examined by Prof. Masayoshi Hiro, D. Sc. Laboratory of Domestic
Science, Nagoya Women's College. It took two months for him to
acquire a satisfactory result. By using a light microscope, he
photographed every part of the scales. It seems he took a great deal
more trouble than that. When it was ascertained beyond doubt that the
carp was 215 years old, we two exchanged a look of delightful