The man responsible for creating the emoji is Shegetaka Kurita.

In 1999, the first emoji appeared.

The Emoji- David turned Goliath?
The Creator

What Does Emoji Mean?

“e,” picture; “mo,” write, and, “ji,” character. Simple isn’t it.

Not so much. This literal translation is as close as it gets. The Japanese characteristics are based on, “kanji,” which has its roots in Chinese ideograms. That is to say, the written language is highly pictorial by itself.

The emoji is an ancient tradition going back millenia. Egyptian hieroglyphics and ideograms used in both Chinese and Japanese script of yore.

The Idea Behind emoji

The idea was born based on the minuscule use of information to transmit maximum meaning. This specific purpose was to ease communications on a young internet system a development NTT DoCoMo, a Japanese telecom major. Kurita was an employee there at the time. Email was on offfer but was limited to 250 characters. They were looking at some kind of shorthand that could solve the issue.

The task fell on Kurita. Japanese custom demands courtesy. A small mistake could prove devastating. After much ideation, the smiley was born. Emojis were a way to bypass this limitation he concluded.

Kurita, 25 years of age at the time had a trying time resolving the issue especially the paltry 144-pixel resolution. No small wonder that the early emojis were chunky compared to those of today. Present-day emojis are created with vector graphics which can be pretty hi-res.

Kurita’s Early Creations
The Emoji- David turned Goliath?
Kurita’s Original and The Vectorized version

The Evolution Of The Emoji

For the next decade, emojis went viral in Japan. But they were not standardized meaning they could not be shared across other global networks.

It was only in 2010 that they were integrated into Unicode. It is the standard for text software coding. 722 emoji were released on iPhone and Android.

Strangely they started gaining in popularity only in 2012.

The Inventor Shares His Views on The Emoji

The official Unicode list has close to 3000 emojis as of date.

Kurita is of the opinion that most of them are only pictures and are not really true in the spirit of emoji.

However, his views remain unchanged. Kurita maintains positivity in the impact that emojis make in the digital world of communications, primarily mobile phones. 

He reveals that the heart emoji is his favorite because of its positive energy. He also wanted to create a poomoji but DoCoMo’s reply was ‘no good and that was that.

The Difference Between an emoji and an emoticon

( ͡❛ ͜ʖ ͡❛), as an example is a tad difficult. The smiley face is :-). The drawback is they need to be viewed from a different perspective that is not upright like an emoji. They need to be read sideways.

This is an emoticon which you can create in text from your keyboard.

They are typically confused with emojis that are a different ballgame altogether.

The Emoji- The Present Day Scenario

Emojis have involved into a universal language. Sure, it is a definitive form of communication. Only that some people believe some emojis are truly insulting for some cultures. There are borders. Like this one: 🖕, showing the ‘middle finger’, ‘flipping the bird’, or, plain and simply ‘up yours’.

Some people including me find it dismissive as a reply to messages. I mean how busy can you be not to be able to type ‘Thanks’.

A peculiar example is ‘Emoji Dick’ which showed up in 2014, the inspiration- Beyonce’s song “Drunk in love.” This was the emoji rendition of Herman Melville’s awesome book, Moby Dick. It was a miserable failure.

I was born dumb. So I quite didn’t figure this one out.

The Emoji- David turned Goliath?

In Concluding

I agree that emojis are indeed a well-designed language. Beautifully crafted, it defines a life design. Design encompasses relationships, communications, expression, function…… 

If you choose such brevity, good for you.

Shigetaka Kurita has carved a place in history for his creation.

The Emoji- David turned Goliath?
The Original Emoji set

This is displayed in the Museum Of Modern Art in New York. A proud accomplishment indeed.

Speaking for myself, the written word is what I will stick by for now. 

The Emoji- David turned Goliath?
Smile And The World Smiles Back


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