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Japan Today / News - Politics

A year in Japan through emoji

In its most literal form, emoji is a combination of the Japanese words 絵 え (picture) and 文字 もじ (character) — adding just the right amount of visual sugar (or spice) to your text, tweets and online correspondence. The original 176 pictograms that were intended for Japan’s first mobile internet service have…


In its most literal form, emoji is a combination of the Japanese words 絵 え  (picture) and 文字 もじ  (character) — adding just the right amount of visual sugar (or spice) to your text, tweets and online correspondence. The original 176 pictograms that were intended for Japan’s first mobile internet service have become a worldwide phenomenon.

Shigetaka Kurita, NTT DOCOMO. Emoji (original set of 176). 1998–99. Software and digital image files. Gift of NTT DOCOMO Inc., Japan

Now with over 2,600 emoji available, there seems to be one for every event, feeling and situation. As we start the new year, let’s take a look at the emoji that represent specific Japanese holidays, celebrations and special times of the year and the lingo that can go with them!

Jan 1: New Year’s Day

Torii gate in Hakone

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