Animal Symbolism: Meaning of the Japanese Koi

Animal symbolism of Koi. Photo by Avia Venefica



Symbolic Meaning of Japanese Koi Fish

I love how the Japanese incorporate animal symbolism into their daily life. We see great examples of this in the Japanese symbolic meanings of fish, specifically koi fish.

The term nishikigoi in Japanese means "colored carp" and refers to the magical realm of koi fish.

The Japanese recognized these fish not just for their beauty, but for their ability to transform the observer into otherworldy states of perception. These altered states of perception ultimately lead to the attraction of high energy - and this manifests in the form of prosperity of all kinds in our lives.

You've got to admit, fish are quite mesmorizing - consider the shimmery copper scales of a goldfish. With just a subtle shift in observation those glistening scales become daydreamy coins, or starlit skies, or sequins on a lovely ladies' dress - dancing only to you in your far off thoughts.

You see? Fish have the power to take us into lands of fantasy - they let our analytical minds drop out of sight and allow our imaginations to roam the seas of our thoughts for awhile.

This ability comes from their elaborate colors and fluid motion. Additionally, much animal symbolism of fish comes from their watery world. Water is the realm of motion, emotion, dreams and the psyche (click here for symbolic meanings of water). It's no wonder these creatures capture our imaginations!

The Japanese symbolism of fish goes so far as to categorize certain fish according to their attributes. Each classification is proposed to elicit a specific outcome.

Symbolic Categories of Japanese Koi Fish

  • Yamabuki: The gold fish represents (of course) gold, wealth and prosperity.

  • Ogon: The platinum colored fish also represents the fulfillment of wealth in the form of success in business.

  • Kumonryu: A midnight black colored fish that is named after a Japanese dragon of transformation - and this fish is said to bring about change in life circumstances.

  • Kohoku: A white and red fish (known as a "cap" fish with white body and a red mark on its head) believed to encourage advancement in career.

  • Kuchibeni: Also white and red (known as a "lipstick" fish with a white body and red markings around the mouth) said to inspire long lasting, loving relationships.

Tap into this creature's transformative power by exploring more information on the Japanese symbolism of fish. More information can be found on my symbolic meanings of fish page here.

Post script: Please be kind and thoughtful! If you decide to obtain one of these fish (or any creature) as a pet - keep in mind you are taking on a big responsibility. Research the needs of this animal before you buy one and be positive you are able to care for it. The best way to avoid bad luck is to be sure you are a fit caretaker to the animal kingdom.

Back to Water Animal Totems List




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