The true meaning of Japanese Emoticons and Emojis

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Do you know the true meaning of Japanese emoticons? Several emoji that we use on our cell phones in chats like Whatsapp and Facebook originated in Japan. In this article, we are going to see a Complete Guide to Japanese Emojis and their origin.

We have previously written articles on the kaomoji, those text emoji that the Japanese did and still do before the emergence of emoticons or emoji. Now let's see about such modern Japanese emojis and their meanings.

What does Emoji mean?

Emojis are ideograms and smileys (the faces with reactions and emotions, etc.) used in electronic messages and web pages. And they exist in many genres, including facial expressions, common objects, places and weather types, and animals.

They are very similar to emoticons (characters put together to form a kind of face. Like for example [:)] or [:(]. However, as we can see, there is the vital difference that emojis are real images instead of typographic ones. .

That is, we use the word emoticon to refer to the drawings in text, and emoji to refer to the stickers. But today everyone knows emoticons as those stickers, and few use the word emoji or stickers in text.

The word emoji originally meant pictogram. It is the junction of the ideogram and [絵] which means figure, with moji [文字] which means character. Yes, the word is Japanese, and the similarity to the English words emotion and emoticon is purely coincidental.

Whether emoji or emoticons, both are stickers that can be used with text messages, whether on a computer or cell phone. Now let's see who was the creator of these little faces.

The true meaning of Japanese emoticons and emojis

Who created the Emojis?

Emojis are a fundamental part of our cell phones and computers to interact on social networks. But have you ever wondered when and where these little keyboard designs came from?

I know it sounds obvious, but emoji development was preceded by text-based emoticons (kaomoji) as well as graphical representations, both inside and outside of Japan. But anyway, the first known mobile phone in Japan to include an emoji set was released by J-Phone on November 1, 1997. 

The set of 90 emojis included many that would later be added to the Unicode Standard. But as the phone was very expensive, they weren't used much at the time. 

In 1999, Shigetaka Kurita created the first widely used set of emojis. Kurita was inspired by weather forecasts that used symbols to show the weather, Chinese characters and street signs. In addition to manga that used stock symbols to express emotions, such as light bulbs that meant inspiration.

The first set of 176 12×12 pixel emoji was created to help facilitate electronic communication. And to serve as a distinctive feature from other services. 

Kurita created the first 180 emoji based on expressions he observed people doing and other things in the city. Which in my opinion was a master move, obvious, but master...

As of July 2017, there were 2,666 emojis on the official Unicode Standard list. This after a lot of pressure for more and more emojis from people on top of the big developers…

The true meaning of Japanese emoticons and emojis

Japanese Emoji Faces, Descriptions and Expressions

Usually the most used emojis or emoticons in messages are faces and characters. Faces that signify a certain expression or emotion. There are many faces of Japanese origin or that represent something from Japan. Shall we see their meanings?

Meaning of the Shit Emoji?

poop mountain – Yes, this weird emoji came from Japan, the only country that has such fanaticism for poop, to the point that there is even the shit museum. For some the pile of shit can bring luck because of its pronunciation un.

The ubiquitous and enigmatic smiling poop emoji [?] appeared in 2014, it is affectionately called by the Japanese as unchi. This emoji has nothing to do with lucky poop, its purpose is just for the joke, something typical of the Japanese.

Surgical mask?

Contrary to what some people think, the surgical mask emoji [?] was released by Unicode in 2010. Even before the corona virus affects the earth, the Japanese traditionally wear masks for any little thing, whether it's a cold or allergy.

Meaning of Crossed Arms Emoji ?‍♀️?

The crossed arms emoji [?‍♀️?] dame desu! That is, it means no, not at all, don't talk about it. When the Japanese cross their arms it's a way of saying no, or a denial.

Bow Emoji Meaning ?‍♀️??‍♂️

This type of curvature is called dogeza [?‍♀️??‍♂️]. It's not just a greeting, it's the most formal of all, where the person gets on their knees and touches the ground with their forehead and hands in front of their head. Used only in large supplications and apologies.

Other Japanese Expression Emojis ?‍♀️???‍♀️

  • ?‍♀️?‍♂️? – It means Okay! or Right;
  • ? – Tengu – Uma nose creature from Japanese folklore;
  • ? – Oni – They are ogres or demons popular in the Setsubun;
  • ?‍♀️?‍♂️? – One person at the information desk, a common gesture in Japan;
  • ? - Prayer;
  • ? – Traditional Space Invaders Game;
  • ? – breed dog Akita Inu;
The true meaning of Japanese emoticons and emojis

Japanese Food Emoticons and Emoji ????

Many emojis found on our phones and computers are from traditional Japanese foods and foods. We will briefly list them below, if you want to know more about the food, we will attach articles. Look:

  • ? – dango – Japanese sweet on a skewer made of mochi;
  • ? – oden – Food cooked in dashi on a skewer;
  • ? – Naruto – A common ingredient in ramen, similar to kani;
  • ? – onigiri – Rice ball wrapped in seaweed;
  • ? – Senbei – Traditional Japanese rice cracker;
  • ? – Kare-Raisu – Indian Curry seasoning recipe popular in Japan;
  • ? – Sushi Nigiri – Type of sushi where the fish is on the rice;
  • ? – Strawberry cake – Famous cake style in Japan;
  • ? – Kakigori – Japanese scratch card;
  • ? - Green Tea;
  • ? – Traditional rice in the bowl;
  • ? – bento – Japanese lunch box;
  • ? – Gyoza - Chinese pastry;
  • ? – Ebifurai – Shrimp breaded;
  • ? – nabe – Foods cooked in broth;
  • ? – yaki-imo – Baked sweet potato;
  • ? – Japanese Melon;
  • ? – ramen – Traditional noodles;
  • ? – sake – Rice drip;
  • ? – Purin – Pudding in Japanese;

All the foods mentioned here are popular and widely consumed in Japan, even though there are still similar foods in the West. I believe that all placed on mobile devices was due to the influence of the Japanese.

The true meaning of Japanese emoticons and emojis

Traditional Japanese Objects in Emoticons ⛩???

Let's now see some traditional Japanese objects that are among the emoji on any device along with their meaning.

  • ⛩ – tori – Emoji of a portal that marks the entrance to a Shinto shrine;
  • ?- Kadomatsu – New Year's decoration;
  • ? – kimono – Traditional Japanese Clothing;
  • ? – Martial Arts Kimono;
  • ? – Hanafuda – Traditional card game;
  • ? – Tanabata or Tanzaku – Japanese Tanabata festival decoration;
  • ? – Randoseru – Backpack used by primary school students;
  • ? – yen – Japanese money;
  • ? – Hina matsuri – Traditional Japanese dolls;
  • ? – Koinobori – Carp-shaped flags;
  • ? – Red envelope as a gift;
  • ? – chochin – Traditional Japanese lantern;
  • ? – Abaco – Created by the Japanese;
  • ? – Furin – Traditional Japanese wind chime;
  • ? – Cash withdrawal machines;
  • ? – Shinkansen – Modern bullet train;
  • ? – Old Shinkansen;
  • ? – Japanese monorail;
  • ? – tsukimi – Festival of Appreciating the Moon in Japan;
  • ? – minidisc – Sony's invention was not successful outside of Japan;
  • ? – Traditional celebration ball in Japan;
  • ?️ – Mahjong tile – The Red Dragon;
  • ? – Hanamaru – Represents a good grade of a student;
  • ? – Sakura and Hanami – Cherry Blossom;
  • ? – Kindergarten name badge
The true meaning of Japanese emoticons and emojis

Japanese Places Emojis ????

Now let's see the meaning of the Japanese location emojis:

  • ? – Mail – In Japan, the postal service has as its symbol a curious T in red, with a horizontal line above it;
  • ? – love hotel – They are like motels in Brazil, but in Japan it has its charm;
  • ? – Konbini – Convenience stores open 24 hours;
  • ? – Mount Fuji – Largest mountain and volcano in Japan;
  • ? – Tokyo Tower – Famous Tokyo Tower, symbol of the city;
  • ? – Traditional Japanese castles;
  • ♨️ – Onsen – Japanese Baths;

As you can see, other emojis that we've already seen are commonly used to refer to activities and places themselves. For example, the ⛩ emoji can especially refer to Shinto shrine or even Buddhist temples that are usually together.

The sakura blossom? is usually used to refer to the Hanami festival. Train emoji can be used to talk about a station. I read in Gaijin Pot did a Japanese use it? to refer to Shibuya station (lol).

The lanterns? are often used to refer to bars Izakaya. When it comes to locations, any emoji can indicate a location, whether Japanese or not. So look at the stickers as if they mean multiple things.

The true meaning of Japanese emoticons and emojis

Ideograms and Plates in Japanese Emoji ?? ?

  • ? – Yen stock exchange or quotation;
  • ? – Means someone is new to traffic (mandatory in the first year);
  • ? — Means here;
  • ?️ – Used to indicate free things;
  • ? – Indicates that something is vacant or empty;
  • ? – It means that something is reserved;
  • ? – Means does not exist or not available;
  • ? – Means request;
  • ? – Means available;
  • ? – means open;
  • ?️ – It means month or moon;
  • ? – means prohibited;
  • ? – Means approved;
  • ? – means complete;
  • ? – Means discount;
  • ? – Means accepted or acceptable;
  • ㊗️ – Means happiness;
  • ㊙️ - Means secret or secret;
  • ? – Means advantage or benefit;
  • ? – It means crossing of children, very common in Japan;
  • ? – Currency exchange;
  • ? – Crossed Japanese flags;

Meaning of Monkeys Emojis ???

Monkeys are popular in Japan, there are mountains full of monkeys, some even bathe in the onsen of natural hot springs along with humans. These 3 monkey emojis represent a little bit of Japan's religion.

the first is Mizaru [?] the monkey that does not see. the second is Iwazaru [?] the monkey that doesn't speak. the third is Kikazaru [?] the monkey that doesn't listen. Both can be found at Nikko's Toshogu Shrine.

They are known as the three wise monkeys or Sanzaru [三猿]. Its origin is based on a Japanese proverb that says that if we don't look, don't listen and don't speak evil of others, we would have peaceful communities with peace and harmony.

The true meaning of Japanese emoticons and emojis

Emojis that had origins from Japanese manga ??

Some emoticons or emoji had their roots in manga culture. The main example is the emoji ? representing veins protruding from the forehead of an angry person or who has been hit by someone. Originally it was drawn on or next to the forehead, today it is commonly depicted alone.

It may not look like it, but the emoji ? represents kawaii in Japan, or at least represented. It is a blue diamond flower with a dot in the middle, commonly used in manga to represent a character or something. kawaiii.e. cuddly, cute little cutie.

Unfortunately, perhaps because it is so easily misinterpreted, this emoji is rarely used for this purpose. Did you know these two emojis? Did you know that its origin came from manga and that one of them represents kawaii?

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