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.
More generally, the Japanese associate koi (also known as carp) with perseverance in adversity and strength of purpose. Because of its strength and determination to overcome obstacles, it stands for courage and the ability to attain high goals.
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Before you can get into the what the color means, you need to understand the meaning of what a koi fish tattoo is. Koi themselves are a symbol of strength and face danger with out fear. It is said that in Japan's Yellow River the koi's swim upstream to a waterfall. Most koi turned around and swim back with the current or gave up, but there were some that stayed to continue swimming upstream and conquer the waterfall. After one hundred years one determined koi jumped to the top of the waterfall. His reward was that the God's turned him into a beautiful dragon. The waterfall is now called the 'Dragon's Gate', and each koi that makes it to the gate becomes a heavenly dragon. Colors of koi fish in tattoos symbolize and play a big role in what each koi fish has accomplished in life. Black koi fish tattoo is a symbol of successfully overcoming a obstacle in ones life. To the Japanese this also symbolizes the men of the family.
I have an incomplete answer for this. I just got a tattoo of a koi fish that I designed (without the spot). I got it done in Japan and the tattoo artist decided to add it. He explained to me that it when a koi fish gets older...something something...and that it was very japanese. I has something to do with the aging or wisdom of a koi fish.
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