The meaning of Japanese Koi Fish

The meaning of Koi - Buddhist tattoo designs

"What does it mean?" is the second most common question when people see a new tattoo ("Did it hurt?" is obviously number one). Tattoos often don't mean anything. I have 3 and only this last one has a special meaning.

For all of you who asked me, here's the answer:

The Koi fish plays important roles in both Chinese and Japanese myths, legends, fables and stories. In many of those stories, Koi are transformed through their efforts and perseverance, able to climb waterfalls to become dragons. The Koi as a symbol represents perseverance in the face of adversity and strength of character or purpose. The Koi represents wisdom, knowledge, longevity, and loyalty. The Koi Fish is also a symbol in the Buddhist Religion, representing courage. Humans 'swim' through the 'ocean of suffering' without fear, just like a fish swims through water.

My brother and I got the Koi to represent an important moment in our lives.

The tattoo artist

I should also acknowledge the tattoo artist. While I was getting tattooed I thought about the responsibility they have in their hands. Once you agree on a design, this is it. There is no way back. They can't second guess themselves and they can't erase or re-do something. There is no "Oops, I don't think this works..." It is what it is. Eric did an amazing job. When he finished the tattoo, he walked me to the mirror. I looked at it and said "I love it". Eric replied with a smile on his face "I am glad you like it. If you had hated it, I wouldn't be able to do much about it". I guess he was right...