The present Japanese koi that are becoming popular in backyard ponds are believed to have roots dating into the past in Japan around the turn of the century. During this time, rice farmers began to catch the carp and raise them in their rice pads to create a valuable and reliable food source.
Koi carps are closely woven into Japan’s national identity. Due to their determination and strength, they are often thought of as Samurai warriors. They are also thought of as a symbol of spiritual and material abundance, expansion, and luck.
In the United States, koi still hold significant meaning. While there is not as much symbolism as in Japan, they are considered decorations and pets. Pets typically are best not thought of as food.
Koi fish are classified as bottom-feeders, often recommended to avoid for food. As contaminants like PCBs and Chlordane are usually found on the bottom of lakes and rivers (Such as the Kansas Department of Health and Environment advises anglers to avoid eating carp).