Koi Fish Tattoo Designs

“Asian tattoo meaning”



Koi fish tattoo designs are as old as Asian tattooing itself and have also found a niche in western tattoo styles. The word koi means literally “carp”, or in its full form – nishikigoi, means literally “brocaded carp”. The koi is an ornamental variety of a domesticated carp, used in ponds and water gardens for decorative purposes.

The koi has long held a symbolic place in Asian cultures, where they were first domesticated. Their symbolism stems from their adaptability to survive in many water conditions and climates. There is also a legend associated with the koi in Japanese folklore. The legend is an inspiration for many people getting a tattoo with a koi in the design.

Asian dragon tattoo (fish to dragon)

The Dragon Gate Legend

Wild koi or carp, have a breeding process close to that of a salmon. They have to swim upstream towards the location where they spawn. According to ancient Japanese legend, the koi are swimming up the Yellow river towards a waterfall they must climb to enter what is called the Dragon Gate.

Legends says that if they make it to this point, as they pass through the gate they become dragons . It is on this legend that the koi have become symbols of perseverance, aspiration and motivation.

Also symbolic of strength and masculinity, the koi can be incorporated into a tattoo for a man as well as a woman. In Japan koi are known as the “warrior's fish”. This is related to the Dragon's Gate legend, as it was believed that if a koi was caught on its way to the gate, it would face its death on the cutting board bravely as a samurai.

Koi fish tattoo designs are also used as a good luck charm or a wealth or fortune charm. The “Ogun Koi” is a platinum colored fish that represents a fulfillment of wealth and prosperity while the :Yamabuki Koi” the gold fish represents wealth and prosperity itself. There are almost infinite color combinations and meanings for each one, offering an amazing color palate with which to create a meaningful tattoo.

Koi fish tatoo designs

The koi and its colors are also used to represent family and is a wonderful way to illustrate family ties in the form of a koi tattoo. The colors of the koi and the family members they represent are as follows:

Father – Black Koi

Mother – Flame Red

Son – Blue and White

Daughter – Pink and Red

Another meaning for the word koi is prominent in the creation of koi fish tattoo designs. The word koi is a homophone (same word-different meaning) in the Japanese language and also means “love”. There are many variations of this word and all have kanji representations that can make incredible designs. Here are just a few:

Hatsukoi 初恋 – first love

Koibito 恋人 – one's boyfriend or girlfriend

Koi ni ochiru 恋に落ちる – to fall in love with

Koisuru 恋する – to be in love with

Another common sight in tattoo design is to have koi proverbs tattooed in kanji. Here are several of the most common proverbs seen in this design:

1) Koi wa moumoku. 恋は盲目。 --- Love is blind.

2) Koi wa shian no hoka. 恋は思案のほか。 --- Love is without reason.

3) Koi ni jouge no hedate nashi. 恋に上下の隔てなし。 --- Love makes all men equal.

4) Koi ni shishou nashi. 恋に師匠なし。 --- Love needs no teaching.

5) Koi wa nesshi yasuku same yasui. 恋は熱しやすく冷めやすい。 --- Love becomes deep easily, but cools down soon.

Koi tattoo art

There are many more ideas possible in the koi fish tattoo design. It only takes a bit of imagination and research to create a beautiful piece of artwork. These fish can used for anything from the Pisces sign to a Yin Yang symbol to practically anything else you can imagine.

If you have a koi tattoo design you would like to share please feel free to use our contact page to send your pictures. We will be glad to display them, please remember to keep them clean and without profanity or vulgarity.





Koi Fish Tattoo to Symbols









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