Koi fish are a species of carp (Koi is the Japanese word for carp) that are specially bred to have wild, brilliant color schemes. The Japanese word Koi translates as carp, but also as love, therefore koi fish are a symbol of love (the kind of love you have for your lover, not for your parents for example). Since they are considered to be extremely energetic, koi fish tattoo designs usually have very lively colors and lots of movement.
First, koi fish tattoos depicting the animal swimming upstream may represent strength during trying times. Second, and perhaps more influenced by Western thought (the Japanese had and have a very close-knit society), is the koi fish tattoo for someone who is very independent.
Any carp able to climb to the Dragon Gate along the Yellow Riverwill be transformed into a dragon. Sharing much of its imagery with the Japanese for the koi's strength and determination, the Chinese koi is also associated with life-long good fortune.
More often than not koi tattoos are very large tattoos, with intricate shading and colors to depict their rainbow of scales and their strong swimming motion against the current. Koi fish designs are also used in zodiac tattoos, more specifically in Pisces tattoos (pisces is the Latin word for fish). Tattoos are style statements that are worn by a large number of men and women on their various body parts.
The koi fish is also known by the name of dragon fish and it is said that it turns into a dragon after climbing the mythical “dragon gate”. If you liked our selection, perhaps these other posts will interest you too, Coy Fish Tattoos, Scorpion Tattoos, Sparrow Tattoos and Leopard Print Tattoos. This swimming koi fish tattoo is a mark of the wearer’s struggle with problems that she has not overcome as yet. The light blue koi fish, making waves in the water, is a symbol of working hard incessantly to accomplish one’s goal in life. The girl has got this cute koi fish on her foot as a lucky charm that would bless make her work hard and succeed in life.
Beautiful black koi fish, carved on the left upper back that looks graceful and symbolizes friendship and love.
This colorful koi fish tattoo stands for the determination and aspiration of the wearer towards his goal in life. Making splash in the sea waves, the koi fish inspires one to be firm and determined and achieve one’s aim in life. Swimming koi fish tattoo carved along with red cherry blossom flowers that says life is ephemeral and one must flow against it and realize the greater purpose. The small koi fish and the flowers say that one must be tough from outside but possess a soft interior. This tattoo depicts courage, hope and determination that one always needs to achieve success in life. Be brave and persevere hard to reach your goal, this is the message of the koi fish tattoo, carved on the leg. Carved with black ink, this koi fish along with the heart symbol represents love and affection. The pair of koi fish along with the cherry blossom and lotus flowers says that life’s objectives can be achieved if a couple works in unison.
The cherry blossom flowers and the koi fish are popular and auspicious symbols in Japanese culture and this tattoo represents both. The koi fish tattoo is worn by the men as a source of inspiration as the fish is known to be courageous and hard-working.


The koi fish has beautiful colors and an elegant shape that make it a cool aesthetic tattoo piece which is evident from this picture. This large koi fish tattoo complements the sensuous contours of the back of the girl and presents a luscious portrait. Carved behind the ear, this koi fish whispers perseverance and determination that keeps the girl motivated. The dazzling koi fish tattoo exhibiting bright red and yellow shade along with cherry blossom flowers depicts aspiration and achievement. This is a very realistic sleeve koi fish tattoo that catches instant attention and looks super cool. Covering the forearm, this koi fish has a fierce look in its eyes that are always set on the goal.
The woman has an expansive back piece that includes the name of her kids along with the koi fish, bull and peacock for a large tattoo design. Fantastic details and fine quality make this courageous and stoic koi fish, carved on the arm, stand out from the rest.
The koi fish tattoo looks best on men as it is associated with the heroic and fearless attitude of the samurai’s. The man shows off his fresh koi fish tattoo and the drawing from which he got inspired to get the tattoo carved his forearm.
This black and grey koi fish climbing on the arm is a logo of strength of character and an unwavering focused spirit. The girl shows off her bare back that would soon be fully covered with another gorgeous koi fish and lotus flowers. The koi fish and the cherry blossom flowers represent fortune and good luck; this is also a popular reason for getting them carved as tattoos. Kaylee Smith is the owner of a tattoo parlor in Chicago and loves writing about tattoo designs and other design topics.
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Getting sleeved, meaning to have your entire arm tattooed, are getting more interest from potential tattooers who want to demonstrate a personal and unified artistic theme for themselves. Koi tattoo designs are often combined with splashing water, cherry blossom and lotus flowers. Originally a ravenous pet species that stirred up silt in waterways, the Japanese have inbred them and turned them into gemlike marvels.
Interestingly, the Japanese assign different symbolic meanings to the fish depending upon the way it behaves, either in the pond or in the wild. The koi fish is powerful enough to fight river currents and swim against the stream in order to reach its food sources or spawning grounds.
It takes a lot to be able to go against the tide of fate if life has stacked the odds up against you. Proudly going against the grain, with little care for the opinions of others and society, a tattoo depicting a koi fish swimming through a tumultuous torrent is a powerful and personal image.


Their backgrounds are often as spectacular as the fish itself: with crashing water, suns and moons, cherry blossom and lotus petals floating along.
Some wear it for aesthetic reasons while some go for them because of the meaning they wield.
The fish is also associated with stoic qualities because when caught by the fishermen and put under the knife, it does not quiver and dies in a brave manner. Once added to your personalized homepage, just edit widget settings to select your desired view. This contributed to the popularity of Full sleeve tattoos in recent years and one of the main reasons are that they look really awesome on your arms, and not to mention a major boost to your pride and ego too. Koi fish tattoos often represent victory despite terrible adversity: courageous triumph over a struggle. Since koi can eat a hefty portion of their body weight every day, they were expensive to keep. There are separate tattoos for each section but there are some tattoos that combine both the aspects in a brilliant manner.
Some of the common full sleeve tattoo designs include the Koi Fish Tattoos, Tribal Tattoos, Flower Design Tattoos, and Celtic Tattoo Arts. With the gradual decline of the hippy culture, tattooing simply lost its shine in the next few decades.
The koi fish is highly esteemed in Chinese and Japanese cultures where it has been featured in countless myths and folklores. Apart from these qualities, the koi fish also represents luck, love, fortune, passion and wealth. A tattoo does not change a person on the inside, but first impressions can be everything, and even up to today there may still be a social stigma attached to people with tattooing. The fish is associated with many positive qualities and ideas such as power, success, masculinity, courage, strength, endurance, bravery, good omen, good fortune, perseverance and magical qualities.
This Japanese fish that is a symbol of strength, courage and perseverance makes for a fabulous tattoo pregnant with deep meaning that inspires, ignites and keeps one motivated. If you are an open-minded person however, then you will not have a negative prejudice and would feel fine to the people who have extreme full sleeve tattoos.
So, here we go with this post that has 40 koi fish tattoos telling you more about the meanings. Recently, girl sleeve tattoos have grown its popularity too since most celebrities are tattooing sleeve tattoos to better express and represent themselves both on-screen and off-screen.
Some of the most popular shades used in koi tattoos include black, white, gold, gray, red, blue, purple, orange and yellow.
One thing to keep in mind is that having a full sleeve tattoo may limit you from working in certain professions, such as the United States Marine Corps or white-collar jobs from the financial sectors, so do think twice before inking yourself with  full sleeve tattoos.
The tattoo designs can also feature an array of other symbols, such as aquatic vegetations and lotus flowers.
Both cartoonish as well as realistic koi tattoos are equally popular among aficionados of oriental body art.



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