Japanese Koi tattoos

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The Koi represents good luck, bravery and manliness in Japan. It is a symbol of persevering through hard times, as the Koi jumps upstream against the current in order to find food.

The Koi turns into a dragon according to Japanese folklore when it passes through “the dragon gates” a sort of magical gate on top of a waterfall.

The Koi as a tattoo design is as ancient as Japanese tattoos themselves and had been a popular tattoo designs since the EDO period in japan.

A Koi tattoo is often depicted alongside a giant red baby, this is Kintaro – a child with superhuman strength who wrestled a Koi swimming up a waterfall. Kintaro translates as “golden boy”. In Japan the golden days are a celebration of you Japanese boys turning into men, a golden Koi is the symbol for this festival.

The Koi represents good luck, bravery and manliness in Japan. It is a symbol of persevering through hard times, as the koi jumps upstream against the current in order to find food.

For the Japanese there is no braver or more virile fish than the Koi.

The Koi is also the symbol for the golden days festival that marks young Japanese boys turning into men.

A black carp “Magoe” represents the father , a red carp “Higoe” the mother, and the blue carp “Kogoe” represents the child.

These colours can be used to show the relationship between the different Koi  in Japanese Irezumi.