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The history of koi

In this blog, we tell you all about the history of the legendary koi. Koi are elegant, graceful fish that are a living element for many gardens in England. Internationally, koi are the most recognizable ornamental fish in the world. Often associated with Japan, koi first appear in history as a ‘colorful carp’ in a book from the Yin dynasty in China, around the 4th century AD. The emergence of colors in carp with the wild color ultimately arose from natural genetic mutations, which can occur anywhere in the world. In the 19th century, Japanese farmers discovered beautiful colour variations in their wild carp and started to breed this color splendor by selection. Over the years, because of symbolism around the world, the koi has become an icon in its own right.

Geschiedenis van de Koi

The legend of the golden koi

An old story tells that one day a huge school of golden koi swam upstream in the Yellow River in China. They grew stronger and stronger by swimming against the current. The school of golden koi glistened brilliantly and looked like a golden orb in the river. When they reached a waterfall at the end of the river, many koi turned back and allowed themselves to be carried with the current, away from the waterfall. The remaining koi, however, refused to give up. They jumped up from the depths of the river and tried in vain to reach the top of the waterfall. Their efforts attracted the attention of local demons. They mocked the koi and their perseverance angered them. From their anger, they made the waterfall even higher. After a hundred years of jumping, one koi finally reached the top of the waterfall after all. The gods recognized this koi for his perseverance and determination. They made him a golden dragon, as a symbol of power and strength.

Koi and symbolism

Koi are associated with positive images. Because of the legend, Koi are known to symbolize strength and perseverance. Because of the lone Koi who reached the top of the waterfall, they are also known to symbolize fulfilled destiny. As a result of the courage to swim upstream, Koi are often associated with Samurai warriors in Japan. For this reason, Koi are also very popular to get tattooed, both in Asia and the West.

Koi are also symbolized based on their color. Black koi represent masculinity and the role of the father. Golden koi symbolize prosperity and well-being in business. Blue koi are associated with the role of the son, representing peace. Red koi represent strength and the role of the mother.

Whatever the legend or color, Koi fish will always have positive connotations. Whether it is luck, long life, perseverance or courage, Koi fish encompass it all.

Have you experienced something special with your koi and want to share your story with other koi owners? If so, please get in touch with us. Perhaps we can share your story on Marks Koifood.

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Do you have a question about one of our products, a general question about koi food or about keeping koi? With our many years of experience, we are happy to help you!

Marks Koifood