Koi fish tattoos are traditional tattoos symbolizing good luck in the Japanese culture. The idea behind this belief comes from the natural perseverance of the actual koi fish in nature. The koi fish must swim many miles upstream to spawn and continue its species. Japanese legend surrounding the koi says that if one of these mythic fish succeeds in traversing both the upstream voyage of the river, and in climbing the falls of the Dragon Gate on the Yellow River, it will then magically transform into a dragon. So not only are koi fish tattoos a symbol of luck, they are a symbol of ambition in the face of adversity, success, and advancement in life.
Koi fish tattoos can be worn by anyone wanting to represent the struggle humans go through as they swim through the ocean of life’s natural trials and hardships, just as the fish makes its way upstream. The koi fish tattoo looks really cute on women’s feet, wrists, and shoulder blades. While the traditional color of the tattoo is a golden orange, this can be changed to reflect the wearer’s preferences in this matter. Koi fish tattoos are not the type of tattoo one would want on their mid lower back, this is an artistic representation of struggle and success which should be proudly shown, and not a bit of sexual innuendo much like lower back tattoos.
Men can wear the koi fish tattoo as well as women. There are also masculine versions of the koi fish tattoo that depict this mythic creature’s transformation from fish to dragon. Full back spreads can be created tracking the voyage and quest of the koi fish on its way to being transformed into the dragon at the mouth of the Dragon Gate on the Yellow River. Men who are secure n their masculinity can leave off the dragon aspect and simply embrace the symbolism of a single solitary koi fish tattoo.
Celebrities are even catching on to the trend. Charlize Theron and her mother both have matching koi fish tattoos. They got them after Charlize’s mother successfully battled breast cancer to symbolize her successful struggle in the face of adversity.