Another popular traditional Japanese tattoo motif is the form of koi carp. The fish themselves are also greatly loved and featured in temple ponds and rivers as well as architecture and traditional artworks. They are said to own several masculine qualities such as strength and bravery. The koi carp in China were known to attempt swimming upstream in the Yellow River, but only a few of them were able to swim past a point called the Dragon’s Gate. Legend has it that the koi who did were rewarded by turning into dragons. For this reason, koi carp are also a symbol of determination and a strong will to succeed.

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