Popularly, koi fish tattoos are associated with good luck and perseverance, the basic qualities necessary for a successful life. The story of the koi fish swimming upstream against the flow of water to get to the top of the cascade of Dragon Gate can be interpreted as the struggle against adversity in life to reach the desired goal. Thus, koi fish tattoos represent ambition and aspiration, which can be achieved only after overcoming the obstacles of life.
In Japanese culture, koi also symbolize love, along with good fortune. The act of swimming upstream against the flow of water represents the strength in adversity. In Chinese culture, koi fish are a symbol of good luck masculinity and strength. It is well known that the koi are very energetic and have an innate ability to adapt to all conditions of climate and water, which is supposed to symbolize the strength and determination.