Emoji (Japanese: 絵文字) is the Japanese term for the picture characters or emoticons used in Japanese wireless messages and webpages. Originally meaning pictograph, the word literally means e "picture" + moji "letter". The characters are used much like emoticons elsewhere, but a wider range is provided, and the icons are standardized and built into the handsets. Some emoji are very specific to Japanese culture, such as a bowing (apologizing) businessman, a face wearing a face mask or a group of emoji representing popular foods (ramen noodles, dango, onigiri, Japanese curry, sushi). The three main Japanese operators, NTT DoCoMo, au and SoftBank Mobile (formerly Vodafone), have each defined their own variants of emoji.
Although typically only available in Japan, due to the nature of software development, the characters and code in order to use emoji is often physically present in phones, and some phones, including the Apple iPhone, allow access to the symbols outside Japanese carriers. They have also started appearing in emailing services such as Gmail (accessed via Google Labs).
Encoding Of Emoji
For NTT DoCoMo's i-mode, each emoji symbol is drawn on a 12x12 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 176 symbols, with 76 more added in phones that support C-HTML 4.0.
au's emoji pictograms are specified using the IMG tag. SoftBank Mobile emojis 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 based on open standards.
There exist two proposals for encoding the Emoji in Unicode and ISO/IEC 10646, calling for adding characters to the standards to be able to represent the full set. One is by Google and Apple Inc., calling for adding 674 characters to the standards to be able to represent the full set. A revision and extension of this proposal is provided as a joint proposal by the German (DIN) and Irish national bodies.
- NTT DoCoMo: Emoji
- au by KDDI: Emoji, Type 1
- 2 (in Japanese)
- Comparison table across all three companies (in Japanese)
- Translated survey on emoji usage patterns
- Emoji Symbols - The proposals for encoding of Emoji symbols as Unicode characters.
(This page incorporates text from Wikipedia.)