Koi Fish Meaning

Koi FishKoi Fish meaning in Japan is good fortune or luck. They also are associated with perseverance in adversity and strength of purpose. Koi fish symbolize good luck, abundance and perseverance. Symbolic in Buddhism, they represent courage. Today the fish are considered to be symbolic of advancement materially and spiritually.

According to Japanese legend, if a koi fish succeeded in climbing the falls at a point called Dragon Gate on the Yellow River, it would be transformed into a dragon. Based on that legend, it became a symbol of worldly aspiration and advancement.

Another legend states that the koi climb the waterfall bravely, and if they are caught, they face their death on the cutting board bravely like a samuri. In Japan, the word koi refers primarily to the wild variety. As a result, many of the country’s symbolic meanings for the fish refer to the wild variety instead of the fish species as a whole. One of the primary reasons the fish is symbolic in Japanese culture is because it is known for swimming upstream no matter what the conditions are. These fish are even said to swim up waterfalls. This is viewed as an absolute show of power because they will continue to swim upstream as if on a mission. They cannot be distracted or deterred by anything. Koi’s swimming downstream are considered bad luck.

Koi were developed from common carp (in ancient China and was later transferred to Korea and Japan, and are still popular there because they are a symbol of love and friendship.

Colorful Nishikigoi (Koi) have been divided into some 70 varieties according to different color patterns, but taxonomically they all belong to one species-Cyprinus Carpio Linne (1758). Carpio-the name of the island where the goddess of love, Venus, was born and brought up-means fecundity. The name “Carpio” is apt as Koi are fertile; each spawn on an average about 100,000 eggs every time. It is therefore significant and proper that “Koi” sounds the same as Koi meaning “love” in Japanese.

Symbols of strength and masculinity in Japan, Koi are know there as the “warrior’s fish”. Each year in the month of May, beautiful koinobori (streamers) in the shape of Koi are flown form poles in celebration of the Boy’s Day Festival. The streamers symbolize the Japanese parents hope that their sons will demonstrate courage and strength, like that of the nishikigoi. The koi fish is a popular symbol for the family, – black koi for father, flame red koi for mother, blue and white for boy, and pink and red for girl.