Koi Fish Symbolism – Legends, Symbolism, and More

From tattoos, to posters, to movies, people end up seeing koi in a variety of ways. Of course, if you’ve seen these fish and even considered buying some of them you may be wondering about the koi fish symbolism. What do they mean and why are they so important in various Asian cultures? Here is a closer look at these fish, the legends behind them, their symbolism, and more.

Many Beautiful Legends

To get a better understanding of koi fish symbolism, it’s a good idea to understand a bit of the history behind these fish, as well as the many beautiful legends that exist. These fish were developed by breeding together various types of carp and one of the oldest legends is about a special carp. The legend goes that back in 533 BC when a son was born to Confucius the philosopher, he was presented with a gift. The gift came from King Shoko of Ro and the gift was a beautiful magoy, which was a lovely black carp. The legend goes that all of the beautiful koi today came from that incredible black magoy that the king gave to Confucius.

Another of the wonderful legends to consider when it comes to koi fish symbolism is the legend that occurs in Niigata, Japan. According to legend, the knowledge of koi and how to raise them was passed to the Japanese from the Chinese people. They began to raise these fish in the beautiful area of Niigata. At this time, a tough winter came along and these farmers weren’t able to get any crops or go fishing to feed their families. To make sure they didn’t starve, the farmers of Niigata began to create ponds where they could raise their own koi. As they raised the newly bred koi fish, they started seeing a variety of different colors. This made them decide to start breeding some of the most beautiful fish and those they would keep as pets for their family. Still today beautiful koi are sold to be pets and many different colors exist.

Koi Fish Symbolism

Now that you know a couple of the beautiful legends behind these fish, it’s a bit easier to learn about the koi fish symbolism. The long history behind them helps you understand why so many people love and revere these lovely fish. Some of the broad types of symbolism that these koi are known for include courage, success, longevity, perseverance, good fortune, prosperity, and ambition. Quite a bit of the koi fish symbolism has to do with the Dragon Gate legend that has been passed down by the Chinese.

Of course, you also have to realize that a lot of the koi fish symbolism has to do with the different colors of the fish as well. Various color combinations come with their own names and have their own unique symbolism. For example, fish that are solid silver are symbolic of wealth and business success. The lovely white and red fish are often symbolic of career success as well. Some of the other things that various colors can symbolize include transformation, love, relationships, riches, and wealth.

Many people believe in the koi fish symbolism and they work to make the most of the various meanings that the fish offer. To make sure that they get the energy from these lovely creatures, many who raise koi decide to use feng shui in the way that makes the most of the energy they provide. Some of these guidelines include ensuring that the water is very clean. Stagnant water is thought to lead to a negative chi and also can harm the fish. Keeping the koi in a pond that is large enough is another aspect of feng shui for koi. As long as you keep these fish in good health, they can live for 50 years or more. Legend even states that some koi have lived to be close to 200 years old, which definitely shows why koi fish symbolism also points to longevity.


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