Classification:Malayoid - Japanese Gamefowl
The Japanese are masters in minimizing objects and living things (bonsai trees, chickens, fish) The geographical conditions in Japan promote this skill. On the main island Honshu, there is almost no space to build, except on the East coastmargin, as Japan is mostly a country of hills and mountains. To enable the keeping of gamefowl in very small spaces they have created the Ko Shamo, a small game breed still in possession of a game character. A trio of these birds can be kept in a space of 4 square feet. Despite these conditions fertility is excellent, as is their laying ability and hatch rate. Chicks also grow without problems, however overcrowding can lead to problems as they display their game "killer" instincts at an early age.Ko Shamo are very popular in Japan and Europe due to their qualities and character. They have following features: triple,walnut or 'chrysanthemum' comb, pearl eyes, extremely short hard feather, wings carried out from the body and very prominent at the shoulders. The tail is known as shimp or prawn tail (main sickle feathers curving down, side feathers pointing in horizontal direction). Also a very typical feature is the so-called open or split wing which is seen in the best birds. This feature was originally seen in Europe as an anatomical defect, but it is now accepted everywhere as a legitimate characteristic of the breed.
However, different types are considered to be correct in Japan and should also be accepted as correct elsewhere. They range from small, slim and fine-boned to much chunkier, broader birds with heavily wrinkled faces, looking very much like miniature Yamato Gunkei. In Japan this type is called Chibi Shamo, but it is still considered by many to be a type of Ko Shamo. There is also an even smaller bird of this type, known as the Tosa Chibi. Many Japanese breeders feel it is a mistake to consider these as separate breeds, as they are in some European countries; others view it as the correct way for them to be classified. Both the Chibi Shamo and the Tosa Chibi are very rare, even in Japan. Despite these variations, they should all adhere to certain criteria. The unvarying aspects are always – character and attitude, strong head and beak, prominent shoulders, very short hard feather and tiny prawn tail. And despite the fact that Ko Shamo can be kept and bred successfully under less fortunate conditions it is advised to give these birds sufficient space. Ko Shamo are bred in a wide variety of colors. Its an ideal bird for the less fortunate (concerning living space) fancier of Asian Gamefowl.
British KO SHAMO Standard
(taken from the Japanese)
Origin: Japan Classification: Asian Hardfeather. True Bantam Egg colour: White or tinted
Ko Shamo are the most popular of the small Shamo breeds - none of which have large fowl counterparts, and none of which should be referred to as ‘Shamo Bantams’. They are strong, muscular little birds with very sparse plumage. Slightly differing types are considered to be correct in Japan, their country of origin, and there will probably always be some variation here too. The most important attributes should be character and attitude, strong head and beak, prominent shoulders, very short, hard feather and tiny ‘prawn’ tail.
General characteristics: Male Type and Carriage: Upright stance. Alert, confident bearing. Full of character and attitude. The entire bird should comprise three equal parts: head and neck/body/legs. Body: Extremely firm and muscular. Body narrowing gradually towards the tail. Rump firm. Breast: Broad, deep, well-rounded and muscular. Back: Medium length and broad. Widest at the shoulders, gradually narrowing from above the thighs. Backbone straight, sloping down towards the tail. Saddle feathers should be sparse, narrow and short. Wings: Short and strong with prominent shoulders. Wing tips should stop at the base of the saddle hackle and should not be carried over the back. Birds of the best type are usually found to have split wing. In the KoShamo this should never be judged a fault. Tail: Very short. Main tail slightly fanned with sickles and tail coverts very short and curved forming a ‘prawn’ tail, with feather tips pointing down and inwards. A tubular shape is also acceptable. Head: Large with prominent eyebrows to suggest ferocity. Beak thick, short, well-curved and deep from top to bottom. Comb triple, walnut or chrysanthemum - all types should be small and firm, closely set to the head. Eyes large and penetrating. Wattles very small or absent. Earlobes and throat skin thick and rather wrinkled with a dewlap of bare red skin. (The wrinkled skin is not developed so much in the KoShamo as in the Yamato Gunkei.) Neck: Long, strong, curved slightly, almost erect. The bare skin of the dewlap extends well down the front of the neck. Neck hackle feathers are very short and narrow, hardly reaching the base of the neck. Legs and feet: Thighs of medium length, well muscled and rounded. Legs well apart, accentuated by the general sparse plumage of body and legs. Shanks straight, thick and strong, with scales in four or more neat rows. Toes four, straight and well spread. Plumage: Very hard and sparse. Bare red skin showing at keel, vent and point of wing. Handling: Extremely firm fleshed and muscular.
Female The general characteristics are similar to those of the male, allowing for natural sexual differences.
Colour Black/red (the red may be any shade from yellow to dark red, with wheaten or partridge females which can be any shade from cream to dark brown with or without dark markings), Duckwing, Black, White, Blue, Ginger, Splash, Spangle and Cuckoo are all recognised. In both sexes and all colours: Beak yellow or horn, with dark markings acceptable. Legs and feet yellow, dusky markings acceptable in dark coloured birds. Comb, face, earlobes, wattles and any exposed skin – red. Eyes silver or gold. Darker eyes acceptable in young birds.
Weights Cock 1000g (2lb4oz) cockerel 800g (1lb12oz) Hen 800g (1lb12oz) pullet 600g 1lb6oz)
Scale of Points Type and Carriage 30 Head and neck 20 Condition and Plumage quality 20 Legs and feet 10 Eye colour 10 Legs and feet colour 5 Plumage colour 5 /100
Serious defects Lack of attitude. Poor carriage. Overlarge comb. ‘Duck’ feet. Long tail. Any evidence of tail-plucking.
- Shinichi Zenimoto (Japan)
- Ikuo Watanabe (President of the Japan Small Shamo Club)
- Asian Gamefowl Society
- Pictures courtesy of Poultry Photos