Yokohama (UK) Page One / The Yokohamas of Britain
I would like to print here an extremely interesting letter, published in the spring of 1997, sent to me by Julia Keeling of the Isle of Man, UK, the Yokohama Registrar.
As the new Yokohama Registrar, I am in the process of compiling an overall picture of breed numbers in the various colours, sizes and comb styles. If there are any Yokohama owners who have not yet received a form from me, could they please get in touch. I will report of my findings as a reasonable number of forms have been returned.
People often ask which is a 'Phoenix' and which a 'Yokohama'. The answer is that, in this country, all sizes and colours of Japanese long-tailed fowl are known as Yokohamas - although you will find many books and articles, past and present, which will try to inform you differently. For instance, 'Bantams In Colour', published in 1984 by the Domestic Fowl Trust, is extremely confusing for a modern book - the black/red Yokohama bantams illustrated being captioned as 'Golden Duckwing Phoenix'. The text goes on to tell us to "Beware of confusion with Yokohama, a rare breed. In Britian the Phoenix is sometimes mistakenly called Yokohama". It also states that gold and silver duckwing are the only plumage colours, yellow the only leg colour, and that a pea comb is a fault. In fact legs may be yellow, willow or slate-blue (yellow only in red-saddled), and combs maybe single, pea or walnut. (Earlobes may be pure white or pure red in game-coloured birds, red only in the red-saddled - the standard will be published shortly in the new Poultry Standards book).
Going back to early references to the breed - Long's "Poultry for Prizes and Profit" (1895) credits the production of the 'Phoenix Fowl' to German fanciers who "cross bred with the Yokohama", and the Yokohama entry reads "... a breed resembling the Phoenix in some respects, but ... they have no pretence to the extraordinary feathering of the Phoenix. The breed has not attained a sufficiently accurate standard to be recognised as an unusual or special variety." However, by 1911, the revision by Lewer of Wright's Book of Poultry states that "About the year 1878 there appeared in Germany, and a year or two later in England, fowls imported from Japan ... some were exhibited as Yokohama, others as Phoenix Fowls, but careful comparisons of the representations published ... failed to show any distinction beyond greater or less development of the peculiar plumage... Such birds had been occasionally exhibited as 'Japanese Game' so far back as 1872. Many names have been proposed. The Germans were mainly answerable for 'Phoenix', which has no meaning; and 'Japanese Longtails' was too general. Some attempt was made to get 'Shinowaratao' recognised, but to the appellation of 'Yokohamas' the breed has now failry settled down." (Incidentally, in 1911, a specialist breed club for the Yokohama was founded and subsequently classes were given for them at many leading shows.)
In 1915, Rev. T.W.Sturges' Poultry Manual still tells us that Yokohamas "are often called Japanese Longtails, or Phoenix Fowl" and, in 1921, Hicks' Cyclopedia of Poultry states that "one of the Yokohama's distinctive features is that it has a pea comb, is extremely game in its disposition, and appearance, and is the fighting cock of Japan (Shamo's didn't reach Britian until the 1970's). The Japanese Phoenix, as the Japanese Longtail is sometimes called on the Continent, is generally single combed". However, the same article goes on to state that "Yokohamas may have pea or single combs, and there are whites, silver duckwings, gold duckwings, and spangles." The Poultry Club Stadards of the following year (1922) has a Yokohama standard which says that single or pea combis allowed (pea comb only in red-saddled) and there is no mention of the 'Phoenix'.
More recently J.Batty's 'Japanese Long-Tailed Fowl' publisehd in 1994 still refers to "Yokohamas and Phoenix being reasonably popular in Britian" - the 'red-shoudered' being labelled as Yokohama and the game-coloured as Phoenix Fowl. It also tells us that the Phoenix has a single comb, although further on in the text it states that "There has always been confusion between Phoenix and Yokohama" but that in Britian the Poultry Club now classifies them both as Yokohama. There is also reference in the book to the Onagadori, the exceptionally longtailed fowl of Japan, which must be confined in special pens to protect their tails in order for them to grow to incredible lengths of up to 30 feet - photgraphs of which can be seen in Frank Ogasawara's article in National Geographic of December 1970, or in the German book 'Schoene Janpaner-, Phoenix- und Zwergpheonix-Huehner' by Rolf Ismer (1989). This book also has excellent photographs ro illustrate the difference between the tail feathers of the Onagadori and the German Phoenix (our Yokohama). There are few Onagadori in this country, but there are some, which it would be very interesting to see shown.
I hope this article hasn's resulted in even more confusion - but there is much more contradicty information than I have referred to here.
Ultimately it must be rememberedthat, in the Yokohama, it is the quantity, quality and length of t tailand hackles on which a bird is primarily judge, accounting for 45% of points awardable. Type and carriage carry for a further 20% - colour carries only 5% and head 10% (size 10%, condition 5%, legs and feet 5%).