Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Koi Fish Tattoos

Koi is a very beautiful fish with bright and striking colors, which has been cultivated and bred by the people of Japan for hundreds of years. Japanese koi fish tattoos denote both good luck and strength. They are believed to bring riches and abundance. Koi fish has the innate ability to adjust to any environment and swim against the current of water, which are considered as very rare qualities.

In both Chinese and Japanese culture, a very popular and mysterious legend is associated with koi fish. It is believed that these fascinating creatures, swimming upstream against the current of water will transform into water dragons, if they can reach a point known as 'Dragon Gate' in the Yellow river. But, swimming upstream is not an easy task, and requires a great degree of determination, ambition and strength. This story highlights the importance of strength and perseverance in the face of adversity to achieve success in the struggle of life. It also points to the fact that hard labor and determination can never go unrewarded. Other meanings attached to koi fish are wisdom, knowledge, ambition, loyalty and longevity.

In Japanese culture, koi fish are also a symbol of masculinity, and their courage is compared with that of the Japanese Samurai warriors. It is a popular custom in Japan to display flags with koi fish images on the birth of a son. Koi fish are so much loved by Japanese people that flags designed as koi are raised on Children’s Day, usually black koi for father, red for mother, blue and white for boy, and pink and red for girl. They also hold a special place in Buddhism, being a symbol of courage, for their ability to complete the journey through the ocean.