The Fish in Korea Culture

In Korea the fish represents wealth and prosperity, because the word in Chinese for fish, from which the Koreans derive their own word, also translates as “abundance”.

Carp fish, either black or red, traditionally symbolize wealth and success, especially in relation to exams and business. Because fish do not close their eyes even at night, they also symbolize protection. But fish in general are considered good luck charms. Since many fish are said to travel in paris, a double fish painting or statue is believed to enhance a marriage.

Fish are known to have a long period of courtship, so two fish represent the love and happiness wished to all married couples. As they produce many eggs they also promise the successful birth of children.

In buddhism, the Moktak, a hollow wooden percussion instrument, is used to mark the rhythm of chanting, and is shaped like a fish. The origin of that use of this shape is unknown, but one reason given is that a fish has its eyes open day and night and so is a reminder to be always mindful.


The turtle is considered a sacred animal which represents longevity as it lives a long life, and it is a messenger from the spirit world, symbolizing wisdom, because it lives in the sea as well as on the land. The turtle also symbolizes the self, representing the possibility of new life through the integration of the unconscious and the conscious as it is never lazy and slow but surely completes its tasks.