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Direction of a Koi TattooHere are opinions and input from FAQ Farmers on whether the direction of the koi fish is significant:
  • SOMEONE ACTUALLY SAID THIS: "Yes - when a koi is swimming up on a tattoo it means that the person is either very sexual and/or homosexual. If the koi is swimming down it means the person is either wanting to give or receive oral (based on if it is a man or woman that has the tattoo)." I have a traditional koi fish tattooed on the side of my stomach. It does not in any way, shape, or form, represent being horny, or being gay, or wanting to preform/receive oral sex. I actually laughed out loud when reading this answer. This is a perfect example of why you should not go to a site to find the symbolism of a tattoo. A tattoo is whatever it means to you. Many traditional tattoos do have historical symbolism, such as the koi fish, but in all reality the symbolism is unique to every person - or just isn't there. However, I am very, very, very sure that there is in no way enough of a belief that koi fishes mean you're horny to be it's "symbolism." I'm going to take an educated guess and say that every single one of the answers below will answer your question with 2938592859 times more reliability than the above quoted answer.
  • My best friend has a koi fish tattoo. She's half-Japanese and she says that if the koi is swimming down, it means that you're trying to overcome hardships and if it's swimming up, you have already overcome them.
  • It would make more sense if it were the opposite. Up = Overcoming Hardships (example - swimming upstream in a battle against the current). Down = accomplished the goal (example - swimming downstream...finally succeeding through the hardship). This is my vote. *edit* I would like to disagree, i believe that if the koi is swimming upstream it has gained strength (by overcoming hardships) and can tackle the wheight of the current. If the koi is swimming downstream then it has not yet gained the strength to swim against the current rendering it weaker.
  • According to Japanese legend, if a koi 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.
  • There aren't any specific or concrete meanings for certain tattoo symbols. For example: A cross to some may be just be a cross. But to others, there's a religious meaning. Remember, sometimes a rose is just a rose. It doesn't mean or symbolize anything!
  • Actually, in traditional Eastern tattooing, especially the Japanese art of Horimono, the symbolism is important in the direction of travel of the koi and the items with it in the water or subsequent background. The koi that has been surrounded by late season fauna such as maple leaves, etc. and is pointed downwards is intended to denote the fall. A koi pointing upwards surrounded by cherry blossoms or other early blossoming things denotes the spring. You'll note that many fish travel those directions up and down rivers and streams based on those pesky seasonal changes.
  • As a general rule you almost never want to get a tattoo that faces towards your back. If you notice almost all of the arm or side tattoos that you will see will be facing the front. There is always an exception. Whether the fish is swimming up or down I am not sure. But really it doesn't matter what it means to anyone else, just what it means to you.
  • There is some confusion about the legend of the Koi swimming up the waterfall at the dragon gate on the yellow river. I have heard both that it is Chinese and that it is Japanese. I'm not sure which, perhaps both. *edit: Koi do originate from China and were later introduced to Japan in the 1800s. So, I see why there would be mixed messages.*

- Koi's swimming downstream are considered bad luck. The legend is a koi swimming upstream turns into a dragon. It is good luck.

as far as upstream vs. down

upstream means that you are still fighting or struggling

downstream means that your hardships have been overcome and no longer fighting the current

also if there is a dragon incorporated into your tat it signifies that the dragons gate falls have been successfully achieved also meaning that you have achieved your goals or overcome your hardships

traditional ink holds to this criteria, however most who now get this tat just go with what they think looks cool and forget about the meanings of what they get.

i have a koi backpiece and hold true to the traditional and laugh at some people who have chosen colorwise, whiskers, and other elements incorporated into their ink because they sometimes don't realize how screwed up the meaning of it is

the direction of the koi, being toward the head or toward the foot is not as important as the direction of the water it is in... the koi facing up stream, regardless of the directionality toward the head or foot is a sign of determination and endurance.. the continuing battle to overcome adversity... the koi facing down stream does not signify failure and giving up.. it is a sign peace with tranquility.. the same way fish gather in still water to feed.. i hope this helps..

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โˆ™ 2011-09-21 10:32:00
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โˆ™ 2020-04-02 09:50:18


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Q: Does it mean anything when a koi fish is swimming up or down on a tattoo?
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What tattoo symbolises overcoming the past sayings or pictures?

A Coy Fish Swimming down your body symbolizes overcoming a life experience.

Is it bad luck for a koi fish to be facing down?

Yes. That means you are swimming downstream, not upwards. Think about it. :)

What is the Pisces symbol?

Two fish. One fish swimming going up an another swimming down.

What do you do if a fish is swimming upside down?

Trash it.

How do you tattoo a goldfish?

i think you ned to kill it first then hold it down and tattoo the gold fish :)

Does it mean anything when koi fish is swimming down and jumping out of the water?

Koi often jump and break the surface of the water when they are spawning.

What does a koi fish swimming downwards symbolise in a tattoo?

Simply that it's going the wrong way. Koi are always supposed to be swimming upstream against the current.

Why is your platy fish swimming upside down?

the platyfish is dead!!

Your parrot fish has been swimming upside down for two weeks why?

If your fish cannot swim upright, is swimming on its side or upside down, it most likely has a swim bladder problem.

When getting a koi fish tattoo does it swim up the arm or down?

Depends on how the person wants the tattoo. It doesn't make a difference if it's up or down.

Should a tattoo of a koi fish swim up or down your arm?

well it should swin both way b.cuzzz fish cann siwn up or down. The tattoo rlly has to do with jordain sparks b.c of he or it will be in her heart like a tattoo as if a tattoo of a fish would in you arm. if your young wen you get old and rott it will like a fishyy. =] haha provin true.

What is the meaning of a betta fish tattoo?

A betta fish tatto would be a tattoo of a betta fish.

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