Of all the symbols we see in Japan, the Koi or Carp is one of the favorites. It is seen as a symbol of perseverance and success in life because of its loveliness and grace of motion, and many of us, who never had an interest in Koi, leave Japan with a special feeling for the orange, silver and brass-colored fish we so often see. Carp are often projected swimming upstream which also portrays perseverance, something necessary….. to swim upstream according to Chinese mythology a carp which succeeds in swimming upstream and hurdling the upper rapids of the Yangtze River will be transformed into a dragon.
Carp Kites flown on ‘Boys Day’ are still very prominent, especially in the Japanese countryside. A black carp represents the male head of the family, the eldest son gets a red carp (Higoi-hi = red) only slightly smaller than the father and all successive sons receive progressively smaller carp.
The imitation of the fish that swims against the strong current and even surmounts cascades, acts as an inspiration to the sturdy youth to overcome all difficulties and obstacles encountered in the stream of life.