What Is the Hidden Koi Fish Meaning?

The Koi fish meaning is that of a coloured variant of the Amur Carp. These fish hold significant symbolic value, particularly within Japanese culture.

The terms “koi” and “nishikigoi” originate from the Japanese words 鯉 (referring to carp) and 錦鯉 (denoting brocaded carp), respectively.

In the Japanese language, “koi” serves as a homophone for 恋, which also signifies “affection” or “love.” Consequently, koi fish are emblematic of love and friendship in Japan.


How Do I Describe the Koi Fish?

Koi Fish Meaning
Picture of the Koi Fish

The koi fish, a member of the carp family, is indigenous to Central Europe and Asia. The species under consideration is a coldwater fish that exhibits a high degree of adaptability to various climatic conditions.

Nevertheless, the optimal temperature range for this phenomenon is in fact 59-77 degrees Fahrenheit.

Koi fish are a species of freshwater fish. In terms of dimensions, adult koi typically attain a maximum length of approximately 36 inches.

Young koi have a growth rate of 0.8 inches per month, hence facilitating observable growth within a relatively short period of time.

The mature form of this particular species of fish, known as an ornamental carp, can reach a weight of up to 35 pounds.

It exhibits a diverse range of hues, including white, black, red, and yellow. The breeding process has led to the development of more than 100 distinct types of koi.

Koi fish are known to possess remarkable longevity. The typical lifespan of a koi fish is approximately 47 years. The extended lifespan of these entities plays a pivotal role in their overall importance across all aspects.


Read also: The Mysteries Surrounding The Fish With Teeth


What is the History of the Koi Fish?

Carp encompass a diverse assemblage of fish species that were formerly distributed over Central Europe and Asia. Several kinds of carp were initially domesticated in China, mostly for their utilization as a food source.

Since carp are coldwater fish, they have an exceptional ability to tolerate and adapt to a wide range of temperatures and water conditions, which has allowed the domesticated species to spread widely over the world, even to Japan.

Colour variations in these carp would likely have naturally arisen within all populations. The literature from the Chinese Jin Dynasty, which existed from the fourth century AD, made references to carp exhibiting a diverse range of hues.

The earliest reference to colourful carp in Japan can be traced back to the completion of the Nihon Shoki (Chronicles of Japan), a historical text, in 720.

Based on the historical account presented in the Nihon shoki, it is documented that Emperor Keikō expressed admiration for the vibrant carp inhabiting a pond located in the Mino region during the year 94.

Additionally, Emperor Suiko reportedly encountered these colourful fish inside the confines of the garden situated at Soga no Umako’s home in 620.

The practice of selectively breeding carp for colour mutations originated in China about a millennium ago, resulting in the emergence of the goldfish species (Carassius auratus).

The Amur carp, scientifically known as Cyprinus rubrofuscus, belongs to the cyprinid family species complex and is indigenous to East Asia.

The Amur carp was formerly classified as a subspecies of the common carp (known as C. c. haematopterus); however, contemporary experts now regard it as its own species referred to as C. rubrofuscus.

The aquaculture of Amur carp as a food source can be traced back to ancient China, specifically to the fifth century BC.

The deliberate and methodical cultivation of ornamental Amur carp commenced during the 1820s in Ojiya and Yamakoshi, situated in the Niigata Prefecture of Japan, which is positioned along the northeastern shore of Honshu.

The process of selective breeding led to the emergence of red carp initially, followed by the development of pale blue Asagi and afterwards white, red, and yellow Bekkou.

The Sarasa cultivar, characterized by its red-on-white pattern, was developed in 1830. Subsequently, a Ki utsuri variant with a yellow base emerged.

All subsequent Nishikigoi varieties, with the exception of the Ogon variety (characterized by a single colour and metallic appearance), were derived from the initial set of koi varieties.

It is worth noting that the development of the Ogon variety occurred more recently.

The discovery of colour differences in Japanese koi remained unknown to the wider public until the year 1914 when the Niigata koi were publicly showcased at a yearly exposition held in Tokyo.

Following that period, there was a notable dissemination of interest in koi across many regions of Japan.

The variety of koi fish kept growing, with new and exciting colours appearing among the likes of the Khaku, Taish Sanshoku, and Shwa Sanshoku thanks to the use of cross-breeding procedures.


Read also: Intriguing Transparency: Exploring the Mystique of Glass Tetra Fish


What is the History of the Koi Fish In Japan?

For centuries, people have eaten carp. Since koi are a type of carp, they naturally serve as fish food.

Workers in Japanese rice bogs began cultivating carp because of its long-lasting popularity as a food source. Things started shifting around this time.

Around the 1820s, rice bog farmers who were rearing carp for sustenance noticed that some of the koi in their ponds were developing unusual colour mutations.

Some farmers began keeping the most vibrantly coloured fish as pets, and soon the beautiful fish were no longer used solely as a source of food.

These Japanese farmers began to notice that the hue changes were the result of interbreeding.

The age of cultivating koi for their aesthetic value so begun. The farmers in Japan gave the fish the name “Nishikigoi,” which translates to “brocaded carp.”

As news spread that these fish were being bred by rice growers specifically for their colour mutations, their popularity grew.

Around 1914, when Emperor Hirohito was given a koi as a gift, the koi truly began to gain favour as a beautiful fish.


What is the Koi Fish Meaning?

Koi fish are also symbolic of attributes such as power and patience. One Chinese folklore pertaining to these vibrant carp exemplifies certain characteristics.

The narrative recounts the journey of a colossal koi fish with a golden hue as it traverses the expanse of the Yellow River.

The fish exhibits gregarious behaviour by swimming in close proximity to a collective group of conspecifics.

However, a majority of the individuals within this group demonstrate a reversal in their swimming direction upon encountering a substantial waterfall, opting to return downstream.

Those individuals who persisted encountered a heightened level of difficulty, as they were confronted by malevolent entities that observed their actions from the precipices adjacent to the cascades.

The demons augmented the height of the waterfall in a malevolent act of derision towards the endeavours undertaken by the fish.

Ultimately, a solitary fish persisted in its attempts. The colossal koi fish made persistent attempts over the course of a century to ascend the waterfall, ultimately achieving its goal.

Upon reaching the summit, the deities were duly impressed. The colossal golden protagonist was transformed into an even more immense golden dragon. As a result of this, the formidable fish has come to be seen as an emblem of tenacity.


Read also: What are the Most Common Fishes Species?



During the 19th century, Japanese fishermen encountered the necessity of establishing a method to record the dimensions of their catch, enabling them to distribute this information among their peers.

The procedure involved the utilization of a live fish, which was subjected to the application of ink on one side, followed by the subsequent creation of an impression on paper.

This tradition gained significant popularity as an artistic expression, encompassing a wide range of fish species utilized for creating these images.

Throughout history, a significant element of the art print has been the portrayal of live fish in motion.

Currently, artists exhibit a greater propensity to use rubber stamps as a means of producing prints. Carp, particularly koi, were commonly employed in the artistic expression of this genre.

About The Author

Discover more from Pestclue

Subscribe to get the latest posts to your email.

Leave a feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.