Have you been looking for intense and empowering tattoo ideas? Check out these Japanese themed koi fish tattoo designs and take your pick!
The Japanese word for vibrant and energetic koi fish is “Nishikigoi”, which means broached carp.
This ancient species of fish was introduced to Japan by Chinese invaders thousands of years ago. Used in garden ponds for ornamental purposes, the shiny, brightly colored scales are the result of genetic mutation over millions of years!
Koi fish find significant importance in Chinese culture as well as Japanese culture for a variety of reasons. In Chinese culture, the koi fish symbolizes strength, good fortune and wealth. The Chinese sometimes depict the koi fish using the yin yang symbol which represents balance in the universe.
In Japan, koi fish tattoos were popularized by the legend of the koi fish that turned into a golden dragon. It is said that a school of koi fish had gained significant strength by swimming against the current in the Yellow River in China and managed to reach a waterfall. Unable to muster the strength to swim further upstream, most of the koi fish then turned back. However, some of the koi fish stayed behind and persevered to complete the journey to the top of the waterfall for several decades. Finally, after constantly trying for a hundred years, only one koi fish managed to reach the top of the waterfall. Legend has it that impressed by the determination and strength of the koi fish, the gods transformed it into a majestic golden dragon!
Koi tattoos are popular among both men and women. In fact, in Japan, different koi fish tattoo colors represent different male and female family members. A black koi fish represents the father, while a red koi fish represents the mother of the family. Similarly, a pink koi fish represents the daughter and a blue koi fish represents the son of the family.
Koi fish tattoos have taken the tattoo industry by storm. It symbolizes a range of things depending mainly on color and direction. What does the Japanese koi tattoo mean? A koi can have different meanings but primarily embodies perseverance and good luck. Honestly, who doesn’t love a tattoo that symbolizes luck? Below is a list of carefully selected deep and meaningful koi fish tattoos for anyone looking!
Traditional Japanese Koi Tattoo Designs
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This is a perfect specimen of a traditional Japanese koi fish tattoo design. A traditional Japanese tattoo artist would do a koi fish tattoo using the colors red or blue, and it would usually be in its natural habitat, for example, a garden pond. Therefore, a traditional Japanese koi fish tattoo design would have a beautiful flower or two and be surrounded by water. This particular koi fish tattoo has two koi in red and blue facing each other. Blazing orange flowers add an extra pop of color to this already vibrant option!
Two Koi Tattoo Designs
As the name suggests, a two koi fish design tattoo usually has two koi fish, one swimming upstream and the other swimming downstream. The fish swimming upstream and downstream represents the constant ups and downs of life. This particular tattoo design is simple yet deeply meaningful. Both koi fish are identical in appearance so should be easy for most tattoo artists to recreate. Japanese cherry blossoms add to the overall aesthetic of this otherwise simple koi tattoo.
Black Koi Fish Tattoo Designs
The black koi symbolizes masculinity and strength. It is usually chosen by people who have overcome certain difficulties in life thanks to their determination and perseverance. This particular black koi tattoo that has a fish is an intense charcoal black with a gold tint that depicts the legendary koi that braved strong currents and transformed into a mythical dragon blessed by the heavenly gods themselves. It really is a perfect match for those who have achieved something after years of hard work, courage and determination and are looking for tattoos to commemorate the occasion. You can add more fantasy based tattoo designs to it.
Red Koi Fish Tattoo Designs
The red koi fish tattoo symbolizes deep love and has a feminine connotation. The red koi represents maternal love, power and bravery. This small red koi fish tattoo which is perfect for ladies is easy to do and does not take much time. The two tiny red koi are a fiery red dotted with tiny black dots that add contrast to the color scheme of this koi tattoo.
Blue Koi Fish Tattoo Designs
The blue koi fish symbolizes calm, tranquility and is masculine in nature. It is often a popular choice in koi fish tattoos among those who have struggled immensely with their own demons and have finally found a place of peace and healing. This blue koi fish tattoo depicts two swimming koi fish in different shades of blue i.e. indigo and purple. The background of this koi fish tattoo is made up of high, powerful black shaded waves that showcase the koi fish and look quite awe-inspiring.
Yellow Koi Fish Tattoo Designs
The Japanese term for yellow koi fish is “yamabuki”. This variant of koi symbolizes wealth and fortune. It is therefore popular among those seeking financial gain or prosperity. This gorgeous yellow koi fish tattoo with dark orange undertones is minimalist yet vibrant and sure to grab people’s attention. The waves on the side of the tattoo add a dramatic effect and make it a top choice among other Japanese koi fish tattoo designs.
Japanese Koi Tattoo Sleeve Designs
This koi fish tattoo has become very trendy, especially among men who are specifically looking to get a sleeve tattoo. It’s dark but vibrant at the same time. The crimson, golden yellow and orange tones on a jet black background give the tattoo a bold appearance. This Japanese koi sleeve tattoo symbolizes the legendary koi’s journey from being just a small fish to a mighty dragon through sheer perseverance. This tattoo is the best choice for someone looking for tattoo ideas that depict the many transitions in their own life.
Yin Yang Koi Fish Tattoo Ideas
The Yin Yang koi fish symbolizes the balance of nature. This tattoo has two koi fish swimming around in a circle with a black outline. It’s simple yet chic in a very subtle way. One of the koi fish is darker than the other and represents the male counterpart, the other being a female, white koi fish. This understated yet deeply meaningful tattoo is truly a work of art and a must-have for anyone who believes in the philosophy that everything in nature is interconnected.
Japanese Koi Dragon Tattoo Ideas
The dragon represents strength in Japanese folklore. The legend of the koi fish that managed to overcome obstacles and reach the top of the waterfall is very popular in Japan. While the koi tattoo derives its own meanings based on a number of factors, the dragon x koi tattoo is by far one of the most popular choices due to the strong message it carries. This tattoo is perfect for those who have attained the power they desire and have completed their transformation from a hardworking koi to a mighty dragon.
While there are many possible ideas for koi x dragon tattoos that you can choose from, please keep in mind that this particular koi fish tattoo is elaborate in nature. Therefore, it is better to have it made in the form of a sleeve, preferably on the legs. This would give your tattoo artist the optimal space to work in and not make that beautiful tattoo appear cramped.
The black and red color combination gives this tattoo a unique and fiery look similar to hot lava coming out of a volcano! It would be prudent to take into account that this tattoo will require a tremendous amount of time, patience, and multiple visits to the tattoo parlor to complete. However, we assure you that it would be worth the wait. The finer details of the dragon scales will require a highly skilled tattoo artist. Make sure your tattoo artist gets the fierce and dramatic look in the dragon’s eyes while recreating this koi dragon tattoo. You can also add details with tattoo designs, such as bonsai.
Lotus x Japanese Style Koi Fish Tattoo Ideas
If you are a strong-willed woman looking to get a tattoo that symbolizes your courage and determination to achieve the goals you have set for yourself, then this is all you need to see. This tattoo is the perfect representation of feminine strength. The koi is created with lots of careful detail and top notch shading giving it a very bold look. The lotus flower design represents beauty and growth and adds a feminine aura to this unique tattoo. Black and pink create the perfect contrast. This tattoo is sure to catch eyeballs wherever you go!
Just as the koi grows into a mighty dragon from a small fish through determination and perseverance, the lotus also blossoms in muddy waters into a thing of great beauty. The lotus flowers in this tattoo are in different stages of blooming which gives it a very vibrant look.
If you are looking to explore more koi fish tattoo ideas, we recommend the following list specially designed for you:
- White Koi Fish Tattoo Ideas
- Japanese cherry blossom koi fish tattoo ideas
- Pink fancy koi fish tattoo ideas
- Fire and water koi fish tattoo ideas
- Tribal Koi Fish Tattoos
- Chinese Koi Fish Tattoos
- Coy Fish Tattoo Ideas
Disclaimer: Curated and re-published here. We do not claim anything as we translated and re-published using google translator. All images and Tattoo Design ideas shared only for information purpose.