|1,144 code points|
|Note: These counts are for emoji that are single Unicode characters; many more emoji are composed of sequences of two or more characters. Emoji were first defined in Unicode 6.0, and pre-6.0 characters were only defined as emoji in 6.0 or later.|
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Emoji (Japanese: , [emodʑi]; /ɪˈmoʊdʒi/ /iːˈmoʊdʒi/; singular emoji, plural emoji or emojis) are ideograms and smileys used in electronic messages and Web pages. Emoji are used much like emoticons and exist in various genres, including facial expressions, common objects, places and types of weather, and animals. Originally meaning pictograph, the word emoji comes from Japanese e (絵, "picture") + moji (文字, "character"). The resemblance to the English words emotion and emoticon is purely coincidental.
Originating on Japanese mobile phones in the late 1990s, emoji have become increasingly popular worldwide since their international inclusion in Apple's iPhone, which was followed by similar adoption by Android and other mobile operating systems. In 2015, Oxford Dictionaries named an emoji the Word of the year.
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The development of emoji was predated by text-based emoticons, as well as graphical representations, inside and outside of Japan.
Emoji were initially used by Japanese mobile operators, NTT DoCoMo, au, and SoftBank Mobile (formerly Vodafone). These companies each defined their own variants of emoji using proprietary standards. The first emoji was created in 1999 in Japan by Shigetaka Kurita. He was part of the team working on NTT DoCoMo's i-mode mobile Internet platform. Kurita took inspiration from weather forecasts that used symbols to show weather, Chinese characters and street signs, and from manga that used stock symbols to express emotions, such as lightbulbs signifying inspiration. The first set of 176 12×12 pixel emoji was created as part of i-mode's messaging features to help facilitate electronic communication, and to serve as a distinguishing feature from other services. Kurita created the first 180 emoji based on the expressions that he observed people making and other things in the city.
For NTT DoCoMo's i-mode, each emoji is drawn on a 12×12 pixel grid. When transmitted, emoji symbols are specified as a two-byte sequence, in the private-use range E63E through E757 in the Unicode character space, or F89F through F9FC for Shift JIS. The basic specification has 1706 symbols, with 76 more added in phones that support C-HTML 4.0.
Emoji pictograms by Japanese mobile phone brand au are specified using the IMG tag. SoftBank Mobile emoji are wrapped between SI/SO escape sequences, and support colors and animation. DoCoMo's emoji are the most compact to transmit while au's version is more flexible and based on open standards.
From 2010 onwards, some emoji character sets have been incorporated into Unicode, a standard system for indexing characters, which has allowed them to be used outside Japan and to be standardized across different operating systems.
Hundreds of emoji characters were encoded in the Unicode Standard in version 6.0 released in October 2010 (and in the related international standard ISO/IEC 10646). The additions, originally requested by Google (Kat Momoi, Mark Davis, and Markus Scherer wrote the first draft for consideration by the Unicode Technical Committee in August 2007) and Apple Inc. (whose Yasuo Kida and Peter Edberg joined the first official UTC proposal for 607 characters as coauthors in January 2009), went through a long series of commenting by members of the Unicode Consortium and national standardization bodies of various countries participating in ISO/IEC JTC1/SC2/WG2, especially the United States, Germany, Ireland (led by Michael Everson), and Japan; various new characters (especially symbols for maps and European signs) were added during the consensus-building process. Encoding in the Unicode standard has allowed emoji to become popular outside Japan. The core emoji set in Unicode 6.0 consisted of 722 characters, of which 114 characters map to sequences of one or more characters in the pre-6.0 Unicode standard, and the remaining 608 characters map to sequences of one or more characters introduced in Unicode 6.0. There is no block specifically set aside for emoji – the new symbols were encoded in seven different blocks (some newly created), and there exists a Unicode data file called EmojiSources.txt that includes mappings to and from the Japanese vendors' legacy character sets. "Regional Indicator Symbols" were defined as part of this set of characters as an alternative to encoding separate characters for national flags.
The popularity of emoji has caused pressure from vendors and international markets to add additional designs into the Unicode standard to meet the demands of different cultures. Unicode 7.0 added approximately 250 emoji, many from the Webdings and Wingdings fonts. Some characters now defined as emoji are inherited from a variety of pre-Unicode messenger systems not only used in Japan, including Yahoo and MSN Messenger. Unicode 8.0 added another 41 emoji, including articles of sports equipment such as the cricket bat, food items such as the taco, signs of the Zodiac, new facial expressions, and symbols for places of worship.
Emoji characters vary slightly between platforms within the limits in meaning defined by the Unicode specification, as companies have tried to provide artistic presentations of ideas and objects. For example, following an Apple tradition, the calendar emoji on Apple products always shows July 17, the date in 2002 Apple announced its iCal calendar application for Mac. This led some Apple product users to initially nickname July 17 "International Emoji Calendar Day", which is now more commonly referred to as World Emoji Day. Other emoji fonts show different dates or do not show a specific one.
Some Apple emoji are very similar to the SoftBank standard, since SoftBank was the first Japanese network the iPhone launched on. For example, 💃 (defined by Unicode as "dancer – also used for 'let's party'") is female on Apple and SoftBank standards but male or gender-neutral on others.
Journalists have noted that the ambiguity of emoji has allowed them to take on culture-specific meanings not present in the original glyphs. For example, 💅 (nail polish) has been described as being used in English-language communities to signify "non-caring fabulousness" and "anything from shutting haters down to a sense of accomplishment". Unicode manuals sometimes provide notes on auxiliary meanings of an object to guide designers on how emoji may be used, for example noting that some users may expect 💺 (seat) to stand for "a reserved or ticketed seat, as for an airplane, train, or theater".
Oxford Dictionaries named 😂 (Face With Tears of Joy) its 2015 Word of the year. Oxford noted that 2015 has seen a sizable increase in the use of the word "emoji" and recognized its impact on popular culture; On Oxford's choice to make 😂 the word of the year, Oxford Dictionaries president, Caspar Grathwohl expressed that "traditional alphabet scripts have been struggling to meet the rapid-fire, visually focused demands of 21st Century communication. It's not surprising that a pictographic script like emoji has stepped in to fill those gaps—it's flexible, immediate, and infuses tone beautifully." SwiftKey found that "Face with Tears of Joy" was the most popular emoji across the world. The American Dialect Society declared 🍆 (eggplant) to be the "Most Notable Emoji" of 2015 in their Word of the Year vote.
Some emoji are specific to Japanese culture, such as a bowing businessman (🙇), a face wearing a face mask (😷), a white flower (💮) used to denote "brilliant homework", or a group of emoji representing popular foods: ramen noodles (🍜), dango (🍡), onigiri (🍙), Japanese curry (🍛), and sushi (🍣). Unicode Consortium founder Mark Davis compared the use of emoji to a developing language, particularly mentioning the American use of 🍆 (eggplant) to represent a phallus. Some linguists have classified emoji and emoticons as discourse markers.
In December 2015 a sentiment analysis of emoji was published, and the Emoji Sentiment Ranking 1.0 was provided. In 2015, it was announced that Sony Pictures Animation was planning on making a feature animated film based on emoji, which was released in summer 2017 to overwhelmingly negative reception. In 2016, a musical about emoji premiered in Los Angeles.
In January 2017, in what is believed to be the first large-scale study of emoji usage, researchers at the University of Michigan analysed over 427 million messages input via the Kika Emoji Keyboard and announced that the Face With Tears of Joy was the most popular emoji. The Heart and the Heart eyes emoji stood second and third respectively. The study also found that the French used the emoji associated with love the most. People in countries with high levels of individualism, like Australia, France and the Czech Republic, used more happy emoji, while this was not so for people in Mexico, Colombia, Chile and Argentina, where people used more negative emoji in comparison to cultural hubs known for restraint and self-discipline, like Turkey, France and Russia.
Emoji are now considered by many to form their own "language". There has also been discussion among legal experts on whether or not emoji such as the gun and face could be admissible in court. Furthermore, as emoji continue to develop and grow as a "language" of symbols, there may also be the potential of the formation of emoji "dialects". This is further backed up by the changing use of emoji. Emoji are being used as more than just to show reactions and emotions. Snapchat have even incorporated emoji in their trophy and friends system with each emoji showing a complex meaning.
Emoji communication problems
Research has shown that emoji are often misunderstood. In some cases, this is related to how the actual emoji design is interpreted by the viewer, in other cases the emoji that was sent, was not shown in the same way at the receiving side.
The difference between these two problems is, that the first relates to the cultural or contextual interpretation of the smiley. When the author picks a smiley, the author thinks about the smiley in a certain way, but the same smiley may not trigger the same thoughts with the receiver. See also Models of communication.
The second problem is technological. When an author of a message picks a smiley from a list of smiley faces, this smiley is encoded in some way during the transmission, and if the author and the reader do not use the same software or operating system for their devices, the reader's device may visualize the same smiley in a different way. Small changes to a smiley's look may completely alter its perceived meaning with the receiver.
The third problem is structural. Emoji has no sentence structure yet, such as grammar. Thus when used in communication, the same emoji sentence can be interpreted differently between different people. Emojigraphy is a form of structural grammar in Emoji as a Language. Although the implementation of grammar is still in infancy stage, its the first step to make Emoji Language a more reliable way of communication.
Emoji versus text presentation
Unicode defines variation sequences for many of its emoji to indicate their desired presentation.
Specifying the desired presentation is done by following the base emoji with either U+FE0E VARIATION SELECTOR-15 (VS15) for text or U+FE0F VARIATION SELECTOR-16 (VS16) for emoji-style.
|base code point||ℹ||⌛||⚠||✒||❤||🀄||🈚|
Five symbol modifier characters were added with Unicode 8.0 to provide a range of skin tones for human emoji. These modifiers are called EMOJI MODIFIER FITZPATRICK TYPE-1-2, -3, -4, -5, and -6 (U+1F3FB–U+1F3FF): 🏻 🏼 🏽 🏾 🏿. They are based on the Fitzpatrick scale for classifying human skin color. Human emoji that are not followed by one of these five modifiers should be displayed in a generic, non-realistic skin tone, such as bright yellow (■), blue (■), or gray (■). Non-human emoji (like U+26FD FUEL PUMP) are unaffected by the Fitzpatrick modifiers. As of Unicode 10.0, Fitzpatrick modifiers can be used with 102 human emoji spread across six blocks: Dingbats, Emoticons, Miscellaneous Symbols, Miscellaneous Symbols and Pictographs, Supplemental Symbols and Pictographs, and Transport and Map Symbols.
Implementations may use U+200D ZERO WIDTH JOINER (ZWJ) between emoji to make them behave like a single, unique emoji character. (Systems that don't support this should ignore the ZWJ character.)
For example, the sequence U+1F468 MAN, U+200D ZWJ, U+1F469 WOMAN, U+200D ZWJ, U+1F467 GIRL (👨👩👧) could be displayed as a single emoji depicting a family with a man, a woman, and a girl if the implementation supports it. Systems that don't support it would ignore the ZWJs, showing the base emoji in the sequence: U+1F468 MAN, U+1F469 WOMAN, U+1F467 GIRL (👨👩👧).
Unicode maintains a catalog of emoji ZWJ sequences that are supported on at least one commonly available platform.
Unicode 10.0 represents emoji using 1,182 characters spread across 22 blocks, of which 1,085 are single emoji characters, 26 are Regional Indicator Symbols that combine in pairs to form flag emoji, and 12 (#, * and 0-9) are base characters for keycap emoji sequences:
637 of the 768 code points in the Miscellaneous Symbols and Pictographs block are considered emoji. 134 of the 148 code points in the Supplemental Symbols and Pictographs block are considered emoji. All of the 80 code points in the Emoticons block are considered emoji. 94 of the 107 code points in the Transport and Map Symbols block are considered emoji. 80 of the 256 code points in the Miscellaneous Symbols block are considered emoji. 33 of the 192 code points in the Dingbats block are considered emoji.
|List of emoji|
Additional emoji can be found in the following Unicode blocks: Arrows (8 code points considered emoji), Basic Latin (12), CJK Symbols and Punctuation (2), Enclosed Alphanumeric Supplement (41), Enclosed Alphanumerics (1), Enclosed CJK Letters and Months (2), Enclosed Ideographic Supplement (15), General Punctuation (2), Geometric Shapes (8), Latin-1 Supplement (2), Letterlike Symbols (2), Mahjong Tiles (1), Miscellaneous Symbols and Arrows (7), Miscellaneous Technical (18), Playing Cards (1), and Supplemental Arrows-B (2).
The exact appearance of emoji is not prescribed but varies between fonts, in the same way that normal typefaces can display letters differently. For example, the Apple Color Emoji typeface is proprietary to Apple, and can only be used on Apple devices (without additional hacking). Different computing companies have developed their own fonts to display emoji, some of which have been open-sourced to permit their reuse. Both colour and monochrome emoji typefaces exist, as well as at least one animated design.
Android devices support emoji differently depending on the operating system version. Google added native emoji support to Android in July 2013 with Android 4.3, and to the Google Keyboard in November 2013 for devices running Android 4.4 and later. Android 7.0 Nougat added Unicode 9 emoji, skin tone modifiers, and a redesign of many existing emoji. Emoji are also supported by the Google Hangouts application (independent of the keyboard in use), in both Hangouts and SMS modes. Several third-party messaging and keyboard applications (such as IQQI Keyboard) for Android devices provide plugins that allow the use of emoji.
Some Linux distributions support emoji after installing extra fonts. In Ubuntu or Debian based distributions this can be achieved by installing the package
fonts-symbola; in Fedora or openSUSE, by installing the package
gdouros-symbola-fonts. This will install the Symbola font.
An update for the Segoe UI Symbol font in Windows 7 and in Windows Server 2008 R2 brought a subset of the monochrome Unicode set to those operating systems. The font update rebranded the font as Segoe UI Symbol. The difference between the two fonts is that Segoe UI lacks any and all emoji characters, while Segoe UI Symbol and Segoe UI Emoji include them. Windows 8 and higher supports the full Unicode emoji characters through Microsoft's Segoe UI family of fonts. Emoji characters are accessed through the onscreen keyboard's "smiley" key. As of Windows 8.1 Preview, Segoe UI Emoji font supplies full-color pictographs. Differently from macOS & iOS, color glyphs are only supplied when the application supports Microsoft's DirectWrite API, and Segoe UI Emoji is explicitly declared, otherwise monochrome glyphs appear. Segoe UI Emoji and its full-color emoji set is not fully supported by all programs written for Windows; for example, among Web browsers, Internet Explorer and Google Chrome can use the font, but Firefox can also use the full-color set. Windows 10 Anniversary Update added Unicode 9 emoji.
macOS and iOS
Apple first introduced emoji to their desktop operating system with the release of OS X 10.7 Lion, in 2011. Users can view emoji characters sent through email and messaging applications, which are commonly shared by mobile users, as well as any other application. Users can create emoji symbols using the "Characters" special input panel from almost any macOS application by selecting the "Edit" menu and pulling down to "Special Characters", or by the key combination ++. macOS uses the Apple Color Emoji font that was introduced in iOS. This provides users with full color pictographs.
The emoji keyboard was first available in Japan with the release of iOS version 2.2. The emoji keyboard was not made available outside of Japan until iOS version 5.0. Between iOS version 2.2 and 5.0, those outside Japan could access the keyboard but had to use a third party app by Josh Gare. The app developed by Gare has been attributed with emoji being embraced by popular culture. iOS was updated to support Fitzpatrick modifiers with version 8.3.
OS X 10.9 Mavericks introduced a dedicated emoji input palette in most text input boxes using the key combination ++.
Any operating system that supports adding additional fonts (this would include most operating systems except Chrome and Android) can add an emoji-supporting font. EmojiOne version 2.3, an open-source font available under free license, supports the full emoji set in color through version 9.0. The public domain font Symbola, last updated in July 2016, contains all emoji (in monochrome) through version 8.0 and some through version 9.0. Note however that not all operating systems have support for color fonts, so emoji might have to be rendered as black-and-white line art. Other typefaces including a significant number of emoji characters include Noto Emoji, and Quivira.
In popular culture
- The 2009 film Moon featured a robot named GERTY who communicates using a neutral-toned synthesized voice together with a screen showing emoji representing the corresponding emotional content.
- In 2014, the Library of Congress acquired an emoji version of Herman Melville's Moby Dick created by Fred Benenson.
- A musical called Emojiland premiered at Rockwell Table & Stage in Los Angeles in May 2016, after selected songs were presented at the same venue in 2015.
- In October 2016, the Museum of Modern Art acquired the original collection of emoji distributed by NTT Docomo in 1999.
- In March, 2017, the first episode of the fifth season of Samurai Jack featured alien characters who communicate in emoji.
- In April, 2017, the Doctor Who episode "Smile" featured robots called Vardy that communicate via emoji (without any accompanying speech output), and are sometimes referred to by the time travelers as "Emojibots".
- On July 28, 2017, Sony Pictures Animation released The Emoji Movie, a 3D computer animated movie featuring the voices of Patrick Stewart, Christina Aguilera, Sofía Vergara, Anna Faris, T. J. Miller, and other notable actors and comedians. The film was critically panned.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Emoji.|
|Look up emoji in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
- Unicode Technical Report #51: Unicode emoji
- The Unicode FAQ – Emoji & Dingbats
- Emoji Symbols – The original proposals for encoding of Emoji symbols as Unicode characters.
- Background data for Unicode proposal
- emojitracker – List of most popularly used emojis on the Twitter platform; updated in real-time.