Black Koi and Chrysanthemum Japanese tattoo.
Koi Fish meaning in Japan is good fortune or luck they also are associated with perseverance in adversity and strength of purpose, the Koi fish symbolize good luck, abundance and perseverance. Symbolic in Buddhism is to represent courage. Today the fish are considered to be symbolic of advancement materially and spiritually.
According to Japanese legend, if a koi fish 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.
Another legend states that the koi climb the waterfall bravely, and if they are caught, they face their death on the cutting board bravely like a samuri. In Japan, the word koi refers primarily to the wild variety. As a result, many of the country’s symbolic meanings for the fish refer to the wild variety instead of the fish species as a whole. One of the primary reasons the fish is symbolic in Japanese culture is because it is known for swimming upstream no matter what the conditions are. These fish are even said to swim up waterfalls. This is viewed as an absolute show of power because they will continue to swim upstream as if on a mission. They cannot be distracted or deterred by anything. Koi’s swimming downstream are considered bad luck.
Symbols of strength and masculinity in Japan, Koi are know there as the “warrior’s fish”. (Source)
Kiku. Chrysanthemum Tattoo.
From China, the chrysanthemum made its way over to Japan by Buddhist monks in AD 400. Soon after its introduction, the Japanese were so enamored by this beautiful flower that it was soon adopted as the emperor’s crest and official seal. “Kiku” is the Japanese name for chrysanthemum and every year there is a National Chrysanthemum Day which is also referred to as the Festival of Happiness.
Since the flower blooms in the fall, the chrysanthemum signifies joy and beauty despite the oncoming winter. Although beautiful, chrysanthemums hold various meanings across different time periods and cultures, both positive and negative.
- Victorians used chrysanthemums to show friendship and well-wishing.
- Buddhists use the chrysanthemum as offerings due to their powerful Yang energy.
- In China, the chrysanthemum is traditionally offered to the elderly as they symbolize long life as well as good luck in the home.
- In Australia, chrysanthemums are the official flower for Mother’s Day due to their nickname “mums.”
- In Belgium and Austria, the chrysanthemum is used almost exclusively as a memorial flower to honor loved ones and is the flower of choice for placing on graves.
KIKU Symbolism & Colors
Chrysanthemums generally symbolize longevity, fidelity, joy and optimism. Various colors symbolize other important meanings as well.
- Red chrysanthemums symbolize love and deep passion.
- Yellow chrysanthemums symbolize neglected love or sorrow.
- White chrysanthemums symbolize loyalty and honesty.
- Violet chrysanthemums symbolize a wish to get well.
KIKU Cultural Significance
Since the chrysanthemum was first cultivated in China, the flower still holds deep cultural significance to this day, especially in art. The chrysanthemum is one of the Four Gentleman, which include the plum blossom, the orchid, and bamboo. These are the four main plants depicted in traditional Chinese watercolor paintings, and are derived from Confucianism.
In Japan, the official seal for the Imperial family is a chrysanthemum with 16 petals and is used for official government documents. In the military, the Supreme Order of the Chrysanthemum is the most prestigious honor that can be awarded by the Emperor. (Source)