Kinds of Koi Fish Tattoo You Need to Know

Koi fish tattoos are becoming popular right now trending back from its long history during the ancient Japanese times.   The Japanese assigned a different meaning depending on how the fish behaves in the pond or in the wild.  Unlike in China, the word koi means carp which means love, therefore it is a symbol of love for most Japanese people.


In China, the koi means very masculine since they are considered to be tremendously energetic.  The tattoo designs are made up of brilliant and lively colors with lots of variety.  The koi fish itself is dominant to fight the water’s current and it can swim against the stream to get food sources or spawning grounds.   But its strongest interpretation is aspiration, determination, achievement, ambition and perseverance and achievement in journey to one’s goal in life.

The Koi represents strength during trying times as it takes a lot of courage to be able to go against the tide.   Koi often represents victory despite of the terrible adversity; courageous triumphant over the struggle.  Its second interpretation is very independent, proudly going to the grain, little cares for belief of others and society, depicting the animal swimming through a chaotic torrent is a powerful personal image.

A koi tattoo is supposed to represent different things depending on the color, amount and direction they are swimming.   5 golden koi represents eternal wealth and well being.  Each color represents a specific meaning.   It is believed that the color of the koi tattoo on the body should be in harmony with the surroundings.

Tattooing plays an important role in both Chinese and Japanese myths, legends and stories. The varieties of a koi fish in traditional Japanese tattoos include:

Kohaku is a red patterned and white skinned Koi
Taisho Sanshuko (Sanke) is a red and black patterned white skinned koi
Showa Sanshoku (Showa) is a black skinned koi with red and white patterns
Tancho is any koi with the only red circle on its forehead
Asagi is a koi with red scales on its bottom and light blue scales on its top
Shusui  Asagi is the partially scaled version
Bekko is a white, red or yellow skinned koi with black patterns
Utsurimono is a black koi with a red, white, or yellow pattern
Goshiki has a red, white,brown, and blue accents with mostly black koi
Ogon has a red, orange,platinum, yellow and crème combined in one solid color, can also be regular or metallic
Doitsu-goi is a German carp
Koromo koi has areas of blue-edged scales aligned neatly

The decision with the koi fish tattoo is purely based on ones desire and preferences.   Each one can choose whatever color, style, length, position of their tattoo. It is still a matter of one’s own interpretation.


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