For the last 50 years the Koi pond industry has been shifting and evolving, but their history actually goes back much farther than that. From Asia to North America, ponds have had a long history of agriculture and ornamental purposes.
All the way back to the Shang dynasty in China (1600–1046 BC), fish ponds and Koi fish have been used agriculturally. These ponds were not used to display Koi fish, but as a way to farm carp and other fish, and entertainment for emperors and other royalty.
Koi (or at that time just normal carp) were introduced to Japan via trade from China. Eventually, the people in Niigata, a prefecture in northeastern Japan, began breeding domesticated Koi for their bright colors.
In the early 1900's , Emperor Hirohito (1926-1989) put Koi into the mot of his imperial palace, which caught the eye of the rest of the world and put Koi into the spotlight. This eventually lead to commercial breeding world wide and the spread of domesticated colorful Koi.