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Koi Fish Back Tattoo

The Hidden Mystery Behind Koi Tattoos

Koi fish hold deep meaning for those who have it adorning their bodies. But before you schedule an appointment with a tattoo artist to get one, it’s first best to learn all that you can about the koi fish’s meaning and history. To begin with, koi fish tattoo designs have different meanings depending on the colours used, and the direction it’s placed on your body. Koi fish are traditionally found in both Chinese and Japanese cultures. Japanese tattoo artists regularly make use of the koi fish because of a long-standing legend about how the fish turned into a dragon. In fact, most of the symbolism and meaning about the fish derive from this deeply-rooted tale. Freehand Koi Tattoo

What Do The Colors of the Koi Fish Symbolize?

Some of the prominent colours of the koi fish are:
  • Black and White
  • Red
  • Bluish-gray
  • Cream
  • Yellow, Orange, or Gold

Black Koi Fish

A black koi symbolizes perseverance over a major obstacle. This colour koi is especially meaningful to those who have gone through an exceptionally tough time period in their lives and have made it through stronger. Some obstacles that people feel stronger overcoming are depression, addiction, and abusive relationships. Mothers, fathers, daughters, and sons are represented by different coloured koi fish in Japanese culture. The black koi symbolizes the father.

Red Koi Fish

Red koi fish symbolizes an intense love. More specifically, red or orange koi fish symbolize mothers, while red or pink koi symbolize daughters. Koi that are red in colour also stand for bravery and power.

Blue Koi Fish

The blue koi is a symbol of masculinity. It can, however, also represent reproduction. Blue and white koi fish are often used to symbolize sons, peace, calm, and tranquility.

Yellow Koi Fish

Tattoo artists will use both yellow and orange as a representation of the colour gold. Gold koi fish, or yamabuki, signify abundance, wealth, and fortune. Koi Fish Sleeve Tattoo

What Does a Koi Fish Tattoo Symbolize?

Koi fish are renowned and celebrated for their strength, determination, and power. Koi fish inherently swim upstream and can also withstand and adapt to different water temperatures and conditions. Those with a koi fish design use it as a symbol of dedication, determination, success, and perseverance.

Koi fish represent:
  • Independence
  • Passionate love
  • Going through a major life transformation
  • Power
  • Long life, prosperity, and good luck
  • Perseverance through major obstacles
  • Obtaining a goal
  • Masculinity
  • Aspirations and a moving forward
  • Friendship
Koi FIsh Tattoo

Our Favourite Tattoo Aftercare

After Inked

After Inked Tattoo Moisturizer delivers effective skin moisturization and helps to preserve the colours of your tattoos. There's no petroleum so it won't stick to or stain your clothes. This moisturizing skin lotion, enriched with Grape Seed Oil, can also be used on any permanent makeup procedure on lips, brows, eye liner, and areola, as well as an after-laser tattoo removal moisturizing lotion. After Inked is Dermatologist tested, non-allergenic and non-irritating.

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PurSan Aftercare is a specially formulated Vegan skin cleanser used to clean and moisturize as part of an aftercare regimen for fresh tattoos and piercings. It revitalizes, refreshes and purifies skin without drying it out. Gentle yet effective, PurSan contains no parabens, fragrances, colourants or alcohol. Chloroxylenol (PCMX) is a proven antimicrobial ingredient shown to be effective against bacteria and viruses without burning or irritating the skin. Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose (Hypromellose) is an ultra-high grade lubricant ideal for sensitive skin.

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What Goes Good with A Koi Fish Tattoo?

Tattoo artists often incorporate other complimentary symbols into a koi fish tattoo. Some symbols that go well with the koi fish are the yin-yang symbol, lotus flowers, water, and fire.

Yin and Yang

Yin-yang symbolizes the dueling sides of all things, and the perfect harmony and balance within them. In a koi fish tattoo, the black and white sides are meant to represent a male and female koi swimming together as a convergence of two opposite energies coming together as one. Furthermore, a circular movement of the fish is used to depict the belief that everything in life is connected. This is most commonly seen in the Pisces zodiac symbol.

Dragon Gate

As mentioned before, according to Japanese legend, koi fish transform into dragons at the end of their difficult and lengthy journey. If a dragon koi is depicted, this means that the person overcame significant difficulties in their life, just as the koi had to climb the Dragon’s Gate. Dragon Koi represent sheer strength and will. Likewise, a dragon symbolizes power and ferocity. The two together represent new beginnings.

Fire and Water

Koi fish that are depicted among fire and water symbolize both balance and harmony in life as well as opposing forces joining together.

Lotus Flowers

A lotus flower is a beautiful flower that blooms out of muddy ponds. When the koi and the lotus are joined together, it represents struggle, pain, and growth.

What is the Meaning of a Koi Fish Swimming Upstream?

When a koi fish swims upstream, this means you are in the midst of a struggle and are still fighting your battles. And as you fight, you choose to never give up. A koi swimming upstream can also mean that you have overcome obstacles that were in your path and have become stronger because of it. You will keep swimming against the current to the top of the waterfall.

Why Are Koi Fish So Special?

Koi fish are special because a host of tattoo ideas can spring forth from them. They symbolize strength, power, determination, family, passion, peace, tranquillity, and love. And when paired with another meaningful tattoo such as a yin-yang or a lotus flower, the koi fish takes on an entirely new and deeper meaning.


Interested in Getting your Very own Koi Tattoo?

Koi tattoos are colourful, meaningful and vibrant expressions of body art that make for the perfect tattoo. If you live in or around the Toronto, Mississauga or Kitsilano area and are interested in meeting with a talented Koi tattoo artist, don’t hesitate to reach out.At Chronic Ink and Tattoo, our team of talented tattoo artists have a broad range of experience and a demonstrated record of successful outcomes for clients. Give us a call today to find out why more local Toronto residents trust us for their tattoos.

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