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Japanese Symbols of Luck and Good Fortune

1/ Japanese carp fish, symbol of tenacity and good fortune

Carp fish is one of the main Japanese symbols of luck and good fortune that immediately comes to mind when thinking about the archipelago. But do you really know what it means? In Japanese, carp is called koi. As many Japanese words can have the same pronunciation, koi also means “love”. As a result, carp fish is seen as a romantic symbol. But not only.  Being a fish that swims against the river flow, it also represents tenacity, perseverance in adversity, and the ability to achieve one’s goal.

Thereby, carp swimming down with the current would be a symbol of bad luck. A sign of failure in front of the fish that gave up and turned away from its goal of moving up the river. A carp never gives up !!

Thus, a Buddhist legend says that a carp, persevering for a hundred years, would have succeeded in going up against the current of the Yellow River and the waterfall leading to the “Dragon Gate”. Impressed by her courage and tenacity, the gods turned her into a dragon.

The colors of a carp are also full of meanings. A red and white carp represents success. A white and black or totally black carp represents change in one’s daily life. Finally, the silver color represents wealth.

Uragu designer will explain everything about the carp drawings

To celebrate the New Year, we have included in your New Year box a notepad with a magnificent carp design. This notepad comes from the Uragu boutique, in the Miyagawa-cho geisha district, in the heart of Kyoto. With your box, you will access the interview of the designer behind the creation of this notepad.

Uragu notepad: Carp fish is one of the main Japanese symbols of luck and good fortune

2/ Japanese symbols of luck and good auspices: sea breams

Japanese symbols of luck and good auspices: sea breams
Miso soup monaka in the shape of sea breams or tai

Sea bream is one of the Japanese symbols of luck and good fortune for many reasons. First of all, its color, red, is a symbol of luck and good auspices. For example, you may notice that the dominant color for the new year is often red.

Just like carp, the pronunciation of the word sea bream in Japanese has many meanings. This fish is called tai. In Japanese, tai sound is found in the word omedetai meaning “auspicious”. It is also found in arigatai, a word for expressing gratitude. It is thus not uncommon to see sumo or politicians portrayed holding a sea bream after a victory.

Japanese symbols of luck and good auspices: sea breams
Inside the monaka is the dry miso soup

Tai fish is often served at weddings, birthdays, or other ceremonies as a sign of good fortune. That’s why in your Peko Peko box for the New Year you will find a monaka (thin crisp wafers) of miso soup shaped like a sea bream. With your box, you will access a video presenting 2 recipes to prepare a full meal around this delicious miso soup.

Mayuko's little kitchen
Mayuko from Mayuko’s little kitchen will introduce to you 2 Japanese recipes

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