Koi tattoos originated in the far east and are most often tattooed in a Japanese style and commonly worked into sleeve designs. However, koi can also be smaller individual tattoos and tattooed in a variety of styles.
In Japanese legend koi can jump up the yellow river and become dragons. Due to this, koi are often associated with personal improvement and reaching your goals. Koi with dragon heads, imaginatively named “Dragon Koi”, are a popular design is Japanese artwork due to this piece of mythology and also make a great variation on the typical koi tattoo design.
Koi are also symbols of good luck and good fortune. There are a lot of variations such as colour and direction that dictate the meaning of the koi tattoo. This is pretty much always overlooked and people just get whatever colour they think looks good.
Red koi are symbolic of love. Red is traditionally considered to be a strong and masculine colour though so may not be the best choice for women.
Black koi are representative of overcoming particularly difficult or painful struggles and challenges in your life. In this way they are also associated with success.
A blue koi swimming upwards can be symbolic of a challenge or problem that you are facing. If a blue koi is swimming downwards it is more likely to represent a challenge that is in your past. Blue koi, as with red koi, are considered to be masculine. They don’t leave many colours for the ladies do they? Oh, they can also represent reproduction.