Hi guys/ girls.

I need a quick opinion on wether I need to be concerned about offending anyone at my local martial arts club.

A bit about me to start with. I’m essentially a lifelong traditional martial artist, as well as having some personal reasons for chosing a koi tattoo, that made it an easy choice for me.

I’m about to take up Iaido locally (Japanese swordsmanship), and I’m concerned that my tattoo might offend my instructor. Quite honestly I’m not sure why it would, but I know that some areas in Japan aren’t as accepting of tattoos in general due to negative conetations. I have the feeling this is changing, and we are also in North America and its obviously widely accepted here. It has a nice Japanese influence. Its a koi with some wind bars that look similar to the rising sun flag behind it, done in black and grey..

Any thoughts?




at the end of the day, its a koi fish, not a swastica, if it was me i would just get what you want, its your body, do what you like, and if the guy is offended that’s his problem not yours, it doesnt effect your ability in the sport nor his ability to teach you (nor should it!) good luck with your tattoo and make sure you post up some pics when its done 🙂 x


There is basically no chance of offending a japanese native with a koi tattoo. The koi is representative of dealing with struggles. So in some camps, a koi fish swimming upstream signifies the struggle, while a fish going downstream can mean the you have overcome the struggle. In mythology, a koi fish that successfully makes it upstream transforms into a dragon. This is why you see traditional japanese tattoos with koi and dragon in them simultaneously, and even sometimes a koi fish body with a dragons head.

One word of advice is to find an artist that has experience in traditional japanese art and tattoos. Look at their portfolio and make sure their style matches what you want. There are a ton of artists that do koi tattoos, but they do NOT all look the same.


You need to just get what you want tattooed and not give a flying fuck what some mong might think in case he get’s “offended”

It’s like what Arni posted on here not like back of a video of what Steve Hugh’s said which was actually right.

“Be offended? Nothing happends.”

Are you going to bark all day little doggy or are you going to bite?

Thanks guys, you’re completely right.

I’m too self consious some days. My wife loves it….what more could I ask for.
I’m going to get her to take another shot, now that its healed and not as greasy.


Here is the Tattoo. I’m going to post in in the Ink section as well. Its really hard to photograph this tattoo. My wife and I have a few each, and its well balanced and really crisp. the camera makes it look blurry and off balance.

Anyway, the Kanji means….or is supposed to mean “success” at the bottom. Its been there for a few years, and the Koi was just recently done as a cover up. If anyone can help with the Kanji, that would be more than appreciated, otherwise its coming off!

I didn’t really intend on having the rising sun theme as prominent as it is, and knowing that the rising sun with the rays is actually WWII Japanese military, I’m still slightly concerned of offending someone. this is a cover up of a tattoo I had years ago. I love the design, I’d just love to hear from a Japanese member.


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