Complete Translation of the Japanese Onagadori Standard

This is a translation of the full standard. This translation was done by my very patient, helpful, kind, and saintly bilingual friend, who's a native speaker of Nihongo (Japanese).

Tosa Onagadori

[Introductory passage omitted, it's only what we already know of the breed]

Domestic varieties:

Shirafuji (white-wisteria; silver duckwing); hakushoku [shiroiro] (white); akazasa (red; red duckwing)

Standard weight:

Male - 1800g (3.9 Lb)

Female - 1350g (2.9 Lb)

Disqualification provisions:

* Provisions applicable exclusively to this variety, in addition to other general provisions

a. Ear lobe color that is more than 1/2 red.

b. Utaibane (謡羽; sickles) that are less than 1.5 meters (5 Ft).

Male body:

Comb - Single; medium-sized; 5 points that are firmly upright

Beak - Medium length, strong and moderately curved.

Head - Medium-sized & round; round-faced; fine & smooth

Eyes - Large & wide; shine, full of life

Wattles - Medium

Neck - Bends proportionately to length. Neck feathers are abundant and long, covering the shoulders well and falling to both sides to reach under the throat.

Wings - Long, large & strong; wing tips fold firmly.

Back - Long and broad at the shoulders, narrowing down toward the tail, declining moderately and joining smoothly to the tail without odd bumps.

Tail - The tail feathers grow at the rate of approx. 90 cm. (35 in.) a year; 26 feathers continue to grow for 3 to 4 years or longer. Others molt every year, but some of them (well over 10 feathers) reach 70 to 90 cm (27 to 35 in.). Utaibane (dragging tail feathers) are wide, smooth and strong and grow the longest. After 7 months (after tail feather molt), they grow 12cm (4.7 in.) a month in the first year and 9cm (3.5 in.) in the 2nd year. In the 3rd year and thereafter, they grow at the rate of 7.5cm (3 in.). The feathers in the upper section of the sho-utaibane (小謡羽; lesser or mutant sickles) and ofuku (尾覆; tail covert?) (side tail feathers)--except the daiichi ofuku (literally, primary tail covert?; also known as "uwayore")--are also wide, and the feather shaft fine, smooth and strong, growing proportionate to the utaibane. The daiichi ofuku continues to grow, but the feather shaft is twisted.

Kawari-honge (変わり本毛; also known as "kouge") is an altered feather of the main tail and is the widest, with feather shaft that is fine, elastic and strong, reaching length of around 3 meters. The number of this feather determines the quality of the Onagadori. In other words, the altered feather count can range from 1 to 4, and an individual with 4 such feathers is prized most highly. Along with this altered feather, the urao (literally, back tail) also molts once every 3 to 4 years. The pair of Urao feathers is not broad but has strong and elastic shafts and can reach a length of around 3 meters. The main tail is wide and long. The daiichi-honge (literally, primary main feathers; also known as "kougai") grows 70 to 90 cm (27 to 35 in.) a year. The lower section of the sho-utaibane and ofuku molt ever year but grow with speed all year long.

Minoge (蓑羽 - saddle feathers) - Minoge feathers are countless, forming a semi-cylinder ("tsutsumino").

The feathers maintain length of roughly a third of the growing tail feathers and do not molt.

Breast - Broad, round and expands well.

Belly - Long, firm and muscular, narrowing toward the tail. Soft feathers are long and abundant. The tail end is firm.

Legs - The legs can open wide and stand upright. The thighs are medium in length. Its strong shanks are medium in length. The heels are long and can open wide and straight.

Female body

Closely resembles the Shokoku female but is slightly slimmer, with feathers of various sections longer than those of the Shokoku female. The saddle feathers form a semi-circle.

The main tail is broad and long, with the top feathers long and the tips pointed and bending slightly downward.

Fujishiro Onagadori

Male/female body colors

Bright red comb, face and wattles for male, and pale red for female.

Beak - Horn in color or yellow with streaks of horn in color

Eyes - Reddish brown

Ear lobes - White or pale yellowish white

Legs - Yellow or dark lead [willow/green]

Feathers - Same as Fujishiro variety (Shirozasa variety) of common feather color type

Shiroiro Onagadori

Male/female body colors

Bright red comb, face and wattles for male, and pale red for female.

Beak - Yellow

Eyes - Red

Ear lobes - White

Feathers - Identical to white type of the common feather color type.


Description of Onagadori feathers found in a webpage on a person's one-day experience in caring for Onagadori feathers:

ウワヨレ(uwayore): One pair; the uppermost covert feathers that grows in twisted fashion; do not molt

尾覆(ofuku): 3-4 pairs at top; do not molt

謡羽(utaibane): 1 pair; topmost of the dragging tail feathers (hikio); do not molt

小謡羽(sho-utaibane): 3-4 pairs at top; do not molt

コウガイ(kougai): 1 pair; altered main tail feathers at top row(?); topmost of the main tail feathers; molts yearly*

コウゲ(kouge): 1 pair: altered main tail feathers outside the row(?); molts every 3 to 4 years

裏尾(urao; literally “backside tail”): 1 pair; molts every 3-4 years

* There are cases of “kougai” and the “altered main tail feather on top row” defined differently, and the “altered main tail feather on top row" also called "kouge" and grows 3 to 4 years.

We have a color coded diagram of these feather groups. It is labeled to the best of our understanding. You may view it as a standard HTML web page or download and print this PDF.

Important notes:

The translation above was done as faithful to the original as possible, in order to avoid misinterpretation on my part. Please ignore the awkwardness & use your imagination when reading it! LOL

The romaji words for the terms written in Japanese kanji characters are based on educated guesses, since readings based on standard (Tokyo region) Japanese may not apply.

There may be special readings for these terms that are distinctive to the Kochi region and/or among Onagadori breeders.

Another tidbit on a [Japanese] breeder's reference to “minoke”: 蓑羽 is read either “minoke” or “minoge” by breeders, according to what I found on the web. In standard Japanese, it would be read “mino-u.”

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Last Update: Jan 30, 2009