Origin Of The Emoji

Communication has been a thing for almost every sentient living being which obviously includes us human beings. Communication is an interactive process that requires the cooperation of all parties involved in order to become efficient. Within communication there lay several factors to consider properly giving and deciphering information towards one another. One of the factors we are talking about would be facial expressions. Facial expressions would help give additional information beyond mere words towards the receiving party which in turn helps them be able to understand the messages or information you sent better. Of course, such a factor would nearly be nullified, if not completely, when sending handwritten letters back in the days. Maybe they could compensate by drawing imitations of expressions?

Anyways, we are all well beyond that era. We are all currently living in the 21st century which allows us to utilize the various gadgets around us in order to access the internet and connect to various media sites which allows us to send messages towards other people in real-time. Of course, it does not have to be done via social media. We have cell phones that can send text messages just fine. Now, where am I going with this? Well, knowing we can’t really decipher the expressions of the sender of the message, then we’ll have to make a due right? Indeed! We have something called the emoji which is basically a small imitation of a person’s expression. We will be talking about emoji and its history! We’ll start with the origin. Where did emojis come from? Who created the first emoji? We’ll be talking about these questions, and maybe even give answers to other questions you might be thinking.

Emoji First Discovery

When it comes to the very first emoji, then it was made by a Japanese artist back in 1999. Why 1999? What happened that year which led to such a discovery? Well, 1999 was when the internet saw massive growth. Major news sites were posting reports that stated stocks were on a new high, and that ‘free’ ISPs were starting to kick off the pushing out of internet access and the release of WAP, Wireless Application Protocol, and this was what allowed mobiles to access the internet. Thanks to these events, the discovery and making of such a revolutionary piece of online communication would surely come up sooner or later.

One thing to note though was that a concept that bore a similarity to emojis had been around since as early as 1881. These were emoticons and were explained as facial expressions made of our use of punctuation, and it was during the time of early ’80s that they saw their first application into computer language. It still took quite a while before they were starting to be used in chatrooms in their early forms.

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The name of the man responsible for all that came next was Shigetaku Kurita. He took those early forms and turned it into what would bear resemblance to what see in our modern lives today. Kurita was an engineer at a phone company called Docomo. This company was aiming to release the world’s first major mobile internet system. As part of this release, Kurita decided and went on in order to transform emoticons into something a little more oomph or impact. This gave birth to the emojis.

The rise of the emojis seemed fast at first, but at the same time, it seemed controlled.  Kurita went on and took his work and presented it to some of Japan’s major companies. A number of these companies were more than glad when it came to integrating Kurita’s designs into their systems. This resulted in a snowball effect wherein multiple techs and mobile companies would follow and utilize similar designs. Of course, at some point, companies like J-Phone and AU, competitors of Docomo, began to add their own twist and flavor to the emojis.

Sadly, this was a sort of bad move as the inconsistent systems and designs of emojis caused problems between different devices and carries with the emojis failing to show up when messaging one another with different devices and carriers. This basically meant that the emoji process was at a very rough phase which was completely dissimilar to what we have today as what we have has been refined. Moving on, it was good that Google stepped in eventually. Google requested codes from the Unicode Consortium back during 2007 in order to ensure consistency within every platform.

What is Unicode? Glad you asked!

Unicode was first introduced in 1987 that offered clarity with simple lettering online. This made it logical to create a code set for emojis to do the same. 114 emojis were initially added to Unicode 5.2. It was basically the start of a new era for emojis from then on.

What fuelled the emoji bonanza even more?

You can give thanks to Apple’s adoption of emojis to its own keyboard. This allowed emojis to boom in popularity and usage. In 2008, they released their first emoji keyboard with iOS 2.2 within the Japanese market, and after a year later, it had extended its reach to other countries, and two engineers, Yasuo Kida and Peter Edberg suggested the addition of 608 new emojis into the Unicode Standard. This was accepted by 2010 which caused the emoji count to jump to 722 by the release of Unicode 6.0. What came next would be the fight in order to expand this keyword into the west. Once they had done this, Apple released a keyboard that fully utilized emojis outside the confines of Japan which led to Android following their lead a couple of years after.


This article tackled things about when it comes to who created the first emoji, and the things that came as a result due to its creation. We found out about when it first started along with how it first came to an application through the usage of companies at first. All in all, we hoped you enjoyed reading. Thank you, and come again next time!