Japanese wave tattoos often symbolize strength and life through art. The waves also signify the natural ebb and flow of day-to-day life. Japanese wave tattoos often feature koi fish and dragons to represent obstacles in life.
One of the most popular Japanese wave tattoo designs is inspired by the famous painting, "The Great Wave" by traditional Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai. The painting depicts a large wave falling off the coast at Kanagwa, with Mount Fuji visible through the wave. Three rowing boats fight to survive the wrath of the great wave, representing strength and determination in times of struggle and adversity.