A koi sleeve tattoo is simply a fish art design, as koi is the Japanese term for a carp. The koi fish has been more than just a symbol of prosperity for the Japanese people, but also a symbol of love and friendship.
Wanting a koi sleeve tattoo? Then read on and understand one of the age old meanings of a koi tattoo art. It has been both Japanese and Chinese legend about the wondrous transformation a koi may undergo. It has been according to these legends, that there will come a strong koi who will brave the waters and climb the falls, which is aptly called Dragon Gate, as that very koi will transform into a majestic Dragon. However, if the koi is caught, he faces death in the chopping board, much like a samurai. Hence, the koi has been a symbol of aspiration and advancement.
In Buddhist symbolism, a koi sleeve tattoo is much explained as a koi running through waters. This koi, symbolizes the human race, bracing the "oceans of suffering". When a koi swims upstream, it just simply means that the koi is still struggling. If it swims downstream, this simply means that the wearer has overcome all difficulty.