Senzan-go by Mutsuo Okada



Aiken Journal  278:50-52, (Dec.) 1982

Shin Journal-sha, Tokyo, Japan


by Mutsuo Okada


Senzan-go was born on October 5, 1949 at the Kennel of Mr. Shinichi (Nobuichi) Kaya of Ogida-machi in Akita.  Akikyo Registry: No. 2725. Akiho Registry: No. 3030.


Senzan-go was raised by Mr. Yugoro Izumi of Niida Village that is located on the outskirts of Odate City.  Senzan-go placed second overall at the Fifteenth Akiho's Headquarters Show on May 1951. His sire, Shintora-go placed first at the Twelfth Akiho's Headquarters Show. His dam, Daini Jogetsu-go placed seventh overall at the Fourteenth Akiho's Headquarters Show.


He was highly valued as a direct line from the Ichinoseki line was not to leave Akita under any circumstances. However, in 1953, Mr. Yuji Fujii of Tokyo purchased Senzan for a fee of 850,000 yen (approximately $2361 at 360 yen/$l). Imagine the cost then when compared to today's money and took him to Tokyo


Senzan was raised by Mr. Ishitaro Saito of Shinagawa who owned of a pet store called Koyama-en. Photograph 1 shows his debut in Tokyo as a reference dog at the Akikyo's Sixth Headquarters Show of April 1953.


He was a rather small dog for his day. He was considered a red goma (sesame) then. He often fluctuated between alertness and listlessness in the show ring, depending on his mood. His son, Fujikaze-go, (Dam: Kozakura-go) produced while he was in Akita, won best-in-show at the Akikyo's Fourth Headquarters Show. Also Yamazakura-go (see photograph), a female, out of the same litter, placed eighth overall at the Akiho's Eighteenth Headquarters Show. Okan-go (Dam: Hanazakura), Tetsuzan-go (Dam: Toratetsu-go) and others also won in headquarters shows. Okan-go won first place at the Akiho's Twentieth Headquarters Show, and third place at the Akikyo's Sixth Headquarters Show. Kiyohime-go placed first at this show. Mr. Chobei Ito of Yokobori Village in the Senboku district in Akita, who raised these dogs, advertised the offspring and sold them widely. I believe it was in 1953, during the faithful dog Hachiko's festival that was held in front of the Shibuya Station, that Mr. Ito and his son appeared with Okan-go and Kokuryu-go on the rooftop department store in Shibuya, and sold many of their puppies. This was the beginning of many such popular sales.


Subsequently, Senzan had a son, Senkyo-go (see photograph), which had a sway on the entire nation. The dam was Kyouhime (Sire: Dainimatsumine. Dam: Fujimaru)


Senkyo-go was owned by Mr. Naoshige Kure of Shinbashi's Eiraku Sanshitsu (name of a restaurant?), and placed first at several regional shows. However, at the Akikyo's Twelfth Headquarters Show, he was put in third place and did not win the Ginsho (Silver) Award. This was due to the presence of Hakuho and Bankomaru.


Senkyo's name was advertised as if he were associated with the name of the actress, Kyoko Izumi.


Senkyo-go was used extensively for breeding. However, he produced dogs with the burnt coat appearance. Due to the lack of any successors, this line soon disappeared. only a brindle male called Nagazukagoro was able to win in a headquarters show.


As for Senzan-go's daughters, Yamazakura-go, mentioned earlier, she was bred to Izumi-no-kin-go to produce Sakafuji-go Senzan-go and Kiyohime produced Yayoi-go, a female. Yayoi-go was bred to Tamagumo-go to produce Jurome (Sanshiro-go also came from this litter).


Jurome was bred to Tanihibiki to produce the stud dog, Tanigumo-go.


Onayuki (or Meshou) (see photograph) was bred to Goromaru to produce Gomahime. Gomahime was bred to Tanihibiki to produce Fukutaro, which won Akikyo's Kinsho (Gold Award). Although Onayuki's photograph reveals that she was not an outstanding dog, she produced some excellent dogs.


Also, Onohime-go (out of Senzan and Gorome) (see photograph), which I raised, was bred to Daisanshiranami of the Akita White line to produce Hokutomimaru, which is related to Kitano-o.


Although, the male line of Senzan has disappeared, his female line has become the foundation of many of the Akita dogs of today.


When Senzan first came to Tokyo, my friend, Okura sought my advice on how to obtain a good Akita dog puppy. His father  was the late Mr. Susumu Okura, president of the New Toho Company. My friend had received 50,000 yen (approximately $139 at 360 yen/$1), and the two of us went to the Koyama-en Kennel with some great anticipation. Two puppies of Senzan, from a puppy return arrangement, were available. One was at red puppy out of dam, Tsunahime-go (Sire: Shoryu. Dam: Kiyohime).


The other puppy was a black (sesame) coat out of dam, Tatsumi-go (Sire: Kongo. Dam: Satsuki) with a black goma (sesame). The asking price for the puppy with the red coat cost 50,000 yen (approximately $139), while that of the puppy with the black goma coat was 40, 000 yen (approximately $111).


Although I suggested that he take the puppy with the red coat, Okura took the puppy with the black goma coat, which seemed to him a stronger dog with a better body. He received a student discount of 5,000 yen (approximately $14).


The puppy was registered as Ranzan-go and had a normal development except for a droopy ear. I was greatly disappointed. However, Ranzan-go soon became the best fighting dog in the neighborhood. I was admonished by one of my readers to be more serious about life and so I withdrew from dog fighting.


Although Ranzan-go was a good fighting dog with a good appetite, he was not a guard dog. Therefore, the Okura household decided to purchase a Shepherd female also. An ensuing tie resulted in mongrel puppies. These puppies were given to friends. All of the puppies had beautifully curled tails. When their ears stood, they were all leaning inward, and was a strange sight to behold. This was one of the memories from my boyhood.


Mr. Yugoro Izumi, who raised Senzan-go when the dog was in Akita, was known for his Senko-en Kennel after the war. He had Akita dogs such as Shintora-go, Senko-go (Sire: Dainidewa, Dam: Hakukei-aka), Izumi-no-kin-go (Sire: Odate, Dam: Tamafuji), Senzan-go, Nidai-senko-go (Sire: Izumi-no-kin, Dam: Terufuji.),  Izumi-no-nidai-kin-go (from Nidai-senko's last litter?), Izumi-no-Tatsu-go,  [Sire: Izumi-no-kin.  Dam: Daini-kagetsu (or Dainijogetsu-go), etc. He entered these dogs from Akita at the Nippo and Akiho Headquarters Shows.  He was one of the well-known dog dealer from Akita. Izumi-no-nidai-kin-go was purchased for 800,000 yen (approximately $2222 at 360 yen/$1) by Mr. Sakushige Takamizawa. Nidai-senko was also purchased at a high price by Mr. Gonjiro Ichikawa of Yokohama, whose high publicity of the dog dominated the scene for a generation.


Senzan-go's bloodline had much of the Ichinoseki bloodline, and also resembled the Tosa fighting dog. Their ears were large and weak. No white puppies were produced, nor any brindles that I could recall.


The white tips at the four legs had distinct borders. The lower neck and chest regions had a lead colored portion, which was not desirable.


However, at that time, in contrast to the Dewa line which was considered higher in impurity, he was sought as a direct descendant of the Ichinoseki line by the informed, as mentioned previously. After Senzan's arrival in Tokyo, Kiyohime was sent from Akita to be bred with him, which produced the previously mentioned Yayoi, Seigetsu, Eigetsu and others. These dogs transmitted the black mask and the Ichinoseki line's red coat.


With age I have heard that the coat of Senzan-go faded.  He would stagger up to a stranger's zashiki (parlor) and sleep on a zabuton (cushion).


I often become nostalgic of Senzan-go, Goromaru-go and Tsukasa-go, when they shared the spotlights, when the public began to favor the Ichinoseki line.


Senzan's pedigree is as follows:















(Akiho No. 1894)




















(Akiho No. 2376)










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