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Koi Fish Tattoo Meaning

Updated on October 6, 2013

What Does A Koi Fish Tattoo Mean?

The Koi Fish tattoo is one of the most intricate, yet attractive designs inked on a person's body. In fact, this remarkable piece of art is among the most popular options because of its sophisticated curves and angles combined with scale design that appears as though it glistens when light touches it. With its elegant appeal and positive meaning, a number of people are drawn to this design.

Basic Facts about the Koi Fish Tattoo Meaning

In Japanese, Koi means "carp", yet the meaning behind this tattoo is much more special than what the word means. A deeper meaning lies behind this spectacular design, which is one of the reasons why several people decide to have a Koi fish tattoo imprinted permanently on their body. So, if you are interested in getting this kind of tattoo, it is important to understand what the design means to make better sense out of it.

Primarily, Koi fish tattoos stand for good luck and good fortune. In an old Japanese fable, a Koi fish attempted to climb up the steep falls located at a certain point on the legendary Yellow River. The fish hoped to accomplish this task, so it could become a powerful dragon. Hence, the fish sympbolizes an individual's aspiration and perseverance to become a better and more significant part of the vast universe. With this in mind, this tattoo is perfect for people who long to express their levels of perseverance and strength despite tribulations and trials in life.

The Koi fish is also the most appropriate design for courageous individuals who have high expectations and personal goals. It symbolizes the desire for one's happiness and success, and it is all about standing up for what you believe in. However, there are several other meanings for the the Koi fish tattoo depending on the color and the way the fish swims in a particular direction.

The Story Behind The Koi Fish Tattoo Meaning

There are numerous stories that prove evidences of the accomplishments of the Koi fish for centuries based on the Japanese culture. The Koi featured in some stories have succeeded in climbing a high waterfall, and it did not mind the heavy current that kept pulling it down into the pool below. The victorious fish battled with intense perseverance to reach the top part of the falls because of its goals of achieving what it had been aiming for.

The Chinese version of this story takes the plot a bit farther, as the fish swam the vast Yellow River without minding the heavy and rapid current. Eventually, its efforts paid off as it reached the Dragon Gate. After its great attempts to get to its destination, it was magically transformed into a powerful dragon. This creature was also able to evolve into a more vibrant and advanced creature because of its determination to succeed amidst all trials.

Meaning Behind Each Color and Direction of Koi Fish

There are several other meanings behind the Koi fish tattoos. For instance;

  • Koi with red color stands for strong and intense love that is somewhat masculine in nature. It is also associated with energy, strength and life.
  • Black Koi fish tattoos, on the other hand, stand for one's success in overcoming any changes in life. Those who have surpassed adversity and pain may want to choose this tattoo that speaks for their experiences.
  • The blue Koi is a symbol of masculinity, yet it may also stand for reproduction. With its unique and enchanting color, many people prefer the blue-colored Koi fish for their tattoo design.

The direction where the fish is swimming also affects the tattoo's meaning. When the fish swims upward, this stands for one's continuous effort to overcome a personal challenge or hardship. However, individuals who have already "won the battle" or surpassed a massive difficulty in life can express this by having a Koi fish tattoo swimming downward.

Selecting the Best Tattoo Design

If you are thinking of the most meaningful tattoo that suits your character and personal experiences, then make sure you learn more about the meaning behind each design available. A Koi fish tattoo may be the perfect option for individuals who strive to attain success and good fortune in life despite some problems that come their way.

What Do You Think?

Is A Koi Fish Tattoo For You?

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    • profile image

      Richard Chmelko 

      2 years ago

      Getting one in two weeks

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      I want a koi fish tattoo


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