What Does A Koi Fish Tattoo Mean?
The koi fish is a fish that today is a popular addition to fountains (as many people know them).
However, there is more to the koi than just a decoration.
The koi fish tattoo is a good luck charm and a symbol of perseverance over challenges in life.
Here are the main associations with the meaning of the koi fish tattoo:
Masculinity is one symbol of the koi fish, especially when the tattoo is done in the color blue.
It is a great tattoo for men to get who want to show their strength and who are proud of their fatherhood.
The koi fish tattoo also means prosperity in one’s career, life in general, or with money.
It’s no wonder we drop coins into the water where koi fish are— they are good luck charms.
Koi fish are known for their perseverance through the water by swimming upstream against the current, just as some people metaphorically do with the challenges they face.
The koi fish tattoo symbolizes never giving up through a struggle.
Another common meaning of the koi fish tattoo is strength.
The koi fish overcomes challenges and therefore is a symbol of power.
The Koi Fish Tattoo Meaning In Cultures
- Chinese Koi Fish Tattoo Meaning
Koi fish originated from China, so Chinese culture is rich with its history.
The legend of the koi fish we will explain later on; however, it is important to note that Japan and China both view this story’s meaning as determination to finish a goal or to persevere through a challenging time.
Chinese koi fish tattoos are animated and cartoonish with Chinese symbols attached to the image.
They symbolize strength as well as good fortune, especially with wealth.
The Chinese also represent the koi fish as the yin and yang symbol, meaning balance.
- Japanese Koi Fish Tattoo Meaning
Koi fish are popular symbols of Japanese culture and part of Japan’s national identity.
Their meanings to the Japanese are anything from luck and prosperity to perseverance through a life struggle.
A traditional Japanese tattoo, also called tebori, is typically done in blue or red surrounded by water and or flowers.
Traditional Japanese style koi fish tattoos sometimes refer to the ancient legend that koi fish become dragons.
A synopsis of this story is that many koi fishes in the Yellow River in China were swimming against the current and gaining a powerful ability to swim to a waterfall.
However, many were too scared and decided to turn back.
Only a few koi fish were left and they kept trying to swim over the waterfall for decades.
The one koi that managed, after one hundred years, to reach the top of the waterfall was transformed into a dragon by the gods.
This lesson is that perseverance will be rewarded.
The Meanings of Koi Fish Tattoo Colors
Each color over the rainbow has a unique meaning: and so does each color of the koi fish tattoo.
Koi fish are great tattoo motifs because they come in so many beautiful colors.
But you should be careful when selecting the colors for your next tattoo piece.
Each tattoo color has its own meaning, so you should be very selective.
From perseverance to masculinity, these koi fish tattoos each have defined meanings behind their color.
- Blue Koi Fish Tattoo Meaning
Blue koi do exist in real life, and they’re quite striking.
When you choose a blue koi tattoo design, you choose something unique that will likely turn a lot of heads.
Blue is often associated with water, which happens to be where koi live, emphasizing its meaning.
Between the koi and the water, there can be too much blue, so this tattoo is often accented with red in the form of flowers or second koi fish.
The blue koi fish tattoo symbolizes peace and tranquility as well as harmony with nature.
It can also be a symbol of masculinity and is a common tattoo for men.
There are a few reasons you may want to get a blue koi tattoo, beyond how beautiful it is.
- Black Koi Fish Tattoo Meaning
In a Koi tattoo, black symbolizes strength.
Typically a black koi tattoo, or a koi with spots of black, symbolizes strength through adversity.
If you have had to overcome great obstacles, and want to memorialize your journey, be sure to use black in your koi fish tattoo design.
Black can also represent the paternal figure of a household in Japan.
Black koi fish tattoos symbolize masculinity and even fatherhood; however, they can be done on women or men.
This is because the black koi fish tattoo’s second meaning is an accomplishment through a struggle in life such as financial battles or struggle with mental illness.
This tattoo represents a person’s strength to overcome obstacles.
- Purple Koi Fish Tattoo Meaning
Wearing a purple koi fish on your arm or any other place on your body provides you with a symbol of inspiration that will lift you when your down.
In other words, this tattoo symbolizes perseverance.
Perseverance is defined as continuing to attempt to achieve a goal, even under enormous pressure to stop or turn around.
Therefore, the purple koi fish tattoo means that you are a fighter and will not give up even when the going gets tough.
- White Koi Fish Tattoo Meaning
The white koi fish tattoo represents success in work or an accomplishment in your career.
White can be tricky in the world of tattooing because some people say it won’t stand the test of time.
Putting other colors around your white koi may help the color look more vibrant for longer.
In the same scope, the white koi tattoo can symbolize new possibilities that are coming.
If you were to get a tri-colored koi tattoo, you could roll a few ideas into one!
For example, a white, red, and black koi would represent that you’ve had some obstacles, burst through them with confidence and passion, then were rewarded with material success.
One should get a white koi fish tattoo if they want to celebrate something happening to them that is worth a congratulatory tattoo of a beautiful koi fish.
- Yellow Koi Fish Tattoo Meaning
Yellow is an energetic color typically meaning joy.
However, a yellow koi fish tattoo has many meanings.
When a koi fish tattoo has a more gold tone it can mean success and prosperity in life.
On the other hand, a bright yellow koi fish tattoo can symbolize productive communication, peace of mind, and optimism.
- Red Koi Fish Tattoo Meaning
Red is a popular choice for koi tattoos because it is the color found on the kings of the koi scene.
The symbolism of red koi tattoos is fairly versatile.
The red koi fish tattoo is often accented with black lines or a blue wave in its background.
Red often symbolizes strength or love, but in the case of the Koi fish tattoo, it can also symbolize motherhood and bravery.
The ability of the koi fish to swim upstream and reach a waterfall shows bravery to the extreme.
The red koi fish tattoo represents this bravery.
These varied meanings play out on a strongly aesthetic tattoo full of flavor and texture.
A red koi tattoo is a good choice for someone passionate, who attacks goals with enthusiasm and confidence.
- Orange Koi Fish Tattoo Meaning
Like the yellow koi fish tattoo, the koi fish in orange can symbolize happiness and optimism.
It can also symbolize strength, like a light at the end of the tunnel, good luck, and prosperity.
If you want to invite some positive money flow into your life, embrace the orange koi.
Many people also choose this color for their tattoos because of how it can stand out against darker backdrops.
- Green Koi Fish Tattoo Meaning
Midori, or green in Japanese, is a type of koi fish with scales along the spine instead of the whole body.
This cool-looking fish makes an awesome tattoo, however, for some reason, it is a very uncommon tattoo.
Its meaning, like the color green, is prosperity and good luck along the way.
- Pink Koi Fish Tattoos
Pink koi tattoos can look lovely, especially when paired with orange.
Pink is often seen as a feminine color, and this is no exception.
A pink koi tattoo can represent the daughter in a family, but it is also a celebration of feminine energy.
Are you in touch with your feminine side?
A pink koi fish tattoo can help you embrace it.
Fish only go two ways: down, or up.
Each way the koi fish moves has a different meaning.
- Koi Fish Tattoo Meaning Swimming Upstream
When a koi fish is swimming upstream in a tattoo, it can refer to the story of the koi and therefore means perseverance.
A koi tattoo swimming upstream means you are facing challenges head-on, ready to fight.
- Koi Fish Tattoo Meaning Swimming Downstream
A koi fish tattoo with the koi fish swimming downstream symbolizes independence and freedom.
It is alone and determined in its capabilities to find a new place to live or new food to eat.
A koi tattoo swimming downstream means you have already faced the obstacles and are celebrating your success.
The Meanings of Different Koi Fish Tattoo Designs
There are many different designs of koi fish tattoos.
The koi fish tattoo is often paired with an Asian symbol or with multiple koi fish swimming together.
Here are some examples of koi fish tattoo designs and their meanings:
- Two Koi Fish Tattoo Meaning
When there are two koi fish in a tattoo, the design usually contains one fish swimming upstream and the other swimming downstream.
This can include the yin and yang tattoo with a koi fish tattoo, but also has the meaning of acceptance of life’s challenges.
One fish goes up while the other goes down, literally symbolizing the ups and downs of life.
- Three Koi Fish Tattoo Meaning
Three koi fish in a tattoo is an uncommon one, but it shouldn’t be, because it packs an important meaning.
This tattoo means balance in nature and life.
- Dragon & Koi Fish Tattoo Meaning
The dragon tattoo symbolizes strength and power, and the koi fish also symbolizes these things.
The effect of the two together is extreme dominance.
- Tribal Koi Fish Tattoo Meaning
Tribal tattoos often mean courage or strength.
Therefore, again, we see that this tattoo symbolizes great strength just as the koi fish has the strength to swim upstream.
- Lotus Flower & Koi Fish Tattoo Meaning
The lotus flower is a hardy flower that can withstand many different temperature climates and conditions.
A lotus tattoo, placed along with the koi fish tattoo, their meaning is resiliency and the ability to persevere through tough situations.
Koi fish tattoos paired with lotus tattoos symbolize triumph.
- Yin and Yang Koi Fish Tattoo Meaning
Last but not least, the yin and yang koi fish tattoo means balance between the elements as well as balance in life.
It also represents strength, because there is strength in being able to balance the good and bad in life.
This tattoo design means you are living in harmony with life or seeking to.
The yin and yang koi fish tattoos represent both the harmony of the universe and the balance in life.
A yin yang koi fish tattoo may be done in black and white, or complimentary opposite colors like red and blue.
- Tebori Koi Fish
The art of tebori tattooing dates back to Japan’s Edo era (1603-1868), and it is still practiced today.
Tebori means ‘hand carving’ and the term derives from the Japanese technique of woodblock carving.
This method of tattooing takes far longer than using a tattoo machine, but the colors come out brighter and the healing process is faster.
If you’re interested in an authentic Japanese tattoo design look no further than tebori koi fish.
When considering your koi tattoo, you should consult with an expert.
Depending on how much detail you’d like around your koi tattoo, you may need to find a large piece of your body to house the design.
Decide which direction you’d like your tattoo to swim toward based on the symbolism below.
You’ll need room to portray this properly.
Lastly, think of why you’re getting your tattoo.
If it’s a symbol of strength, try your bicep.
If it’s to commemorate an experience that’s behind you, your back may be a good choice.
A tattoo for someone you love could make an excellent chest piece.
The koi fish tattoo has many meanings, but the one that stands out the most is perseverance.
The story of the koi has such a powerful meaning that it makes sense why so many people get this tattoo.
However, using a koi fish tattoo as a good luck charm for wealth and good events to happen in life can also be very important.
Masculinity and strength are powerful messages too to attach to a tattoo.
Remember— each color and symbol that is added to the koi fish has a different meaning, so think about what you want it to represent.
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