Yamato Gunkei

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Yamato Gunkei trio
Yamato Gunkei trio

The word ‘Gunkei’ is a different way of translating the Japanese characters for ‘Shamo’. This breed is the largest of all the Japanese ‘Small Shamo’ breeds and is also the most extreme. It has a massive body, strong thick legs and big, fleshy, heavily wrinkled face that becomes more and more grotesque with age, like a little gnarled Bonsai tree. The aim is for exaggeration, but not at the expense of health and vitality. Even in Japan, where they are not at all numerous, some of the birds are not strong in constitution. They do not lay well, and their fertility is not always reliable - so they are not the easiest birds to breed.


British YAMATO GUNKEI Standard

(taken from the Japanese)

Origin: Japan Classification: Asian Hardfeather. Large Fowl Egg colour: White or tinted

The Yamato is the largest of the small Shamo breeds, and could be considered an intermediate size (with the Chibi Shamo being its bantam equivalent). In Britain it is exhibited as Large Fowl. It is an ancient ornamental breed, and the aim is to be as thick-set, exaggerated and full of character as possible within the weight limits. The main feature is a very heavily wrinkled face, which gets more and more grotesque with age.


General characteristics: Male Type and Carriage: Upright stance. Solid, powerful appearance. Full of character. Body: Extremely powerful and muscular. Breast: Broad, deep, well-rounded and muscular. Back: Medium length and broad. Widest at the shoulders, giving the appearance of a wide gap between the wings, and gradually narrowing from above the thighs. Backbone straight, sloping down towards the tail. Saddle feathers should be sparse, narrow and short. Wings: Short, muscular and strong with prominent shoulders held away from the body, but with primaries tightly folded into the body. Wing tips should stop at the base of the saddle hackle and should not be carried over the back. Primary and secondary feathers should be broad and in well-ordered layers. Birds of the best type are usually found to have split wing. In the Yamato this should never be judged a fault. Tail: Very short, and carried low. Main tail slightly fanned with sickles and tail coverts very short and curved forming a ‘prawn’ tail, with feather tips pointing down and inwards. Head: Large, broad and flattened at the top, wider at the front than the back. Prominent eyebrows to suggest ferocity. Beak thick, short, well-curved and deep from top to bottom. Comb triple or walnut, firmly set to the head. Eyes large, penetrating and deep-set under heavy overhanging eyebrows. Wattles small. Earlobes thick and firm. Throat skin thick and very wrinkled with a dewlap of bare red skin. Neck: Long, strong, thick and 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. Toes four, short, straight, powerful and well spread. Plumage: Very hard and sparse. Bare red skin showing at keel, vent and point of wing. The shoulder coverts show clearly on the back giving the characteristic ‘five hills’ – this is seen across the back, looking from the head to the tail by: one shoulder/shoulder coverts/ back/shoulder coverts/other wing. Handling: Extremely firm fleshed and muscular.

Female The general characteristics are similar to those of the male, allowing for natural sexual differences. However, the female is rarely as exaggerated, and the short tail, carried well down is straight and spread horizontally.

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 2kg (4lb4oz) cockerel 1.5kg (3lb7oz) Hen 1.7kg (4lb) pullet 1.3kg (3lb)

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 Poor carriage. Overlarge comb. ‘Duck’ feet. Long tail.

Additional Information



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