Emojis have become an essential part of our digital communication, allowing us to convey emotions, express ideas, and add a touch of personality to our messages. But have you ever wondered where emojis came from and how they have evolved over time? In this blog, we'll take a closer look at the history of emojis, from their early origins in Japan to their current global popularity. Follow along as we explore the timeline of their development, from the first simple pixelated icons to the latest customizable avatars. Discover how these digital icons have become an integral part of our daily communication, and what the future might hold for emojis in the years to come.
Emojis are a universal language that have become an integral part of our daily communication. These small digital icons allow us to convey emotions, express ourselves, and add a touch of personality to our messages. But where did these cute little characters come from? Who created them? In this article, we will explore the fascinating history of emojis and their creator.
Emojis were first created in Japan in the late 1990s by a team led by Shigetaka Kurita, who was working for the mobile phone operator NTT Docomo. The idea behind emojis was to create a set of small, simple images that could be used to express emotions and other concepts in a way that was quick and easy to understand.
- Kurita was inspired by a variety of sources, including manga and other Japanese graphic design styles, as well as international symbols like the smiley face. He and his team began creating a set of 176 simple, pixelated icons that could be used on Docomo's mobile phones. These early emojis included basic emotions like happiness and sadness, as well as more practical images like a train and a fax machine.
- The first set of emojis was released in 1999, and they were an immediate hit in Japan. People loved the way that emojis allowed them to express themselves in a way that was more nuanced than text alone. They quickly spread to other mobile phone companies in Japan, and within a few years, they had become a standard feature on all Japanese mobile phones.
- Emojis remained a largely Japanese phenomenon until the late 2000s when they began to spread to other parts of the world. The rise of social media and the widespread use of mobile phones made emojis more popular than ever, and they began to be used in all kinds of contexts. Today, emojis are used by billions of people around the world, and there are thousands of different emojis available for use on various platforms.
- Despite their global popularity, emojis have not always been without controversy. In recent years, there have been debates about the cultural appropriation and stereotyping of certain emojis, as well as concerns about their potential impact on language and communication. Some linguists worry that the overuse of emojis could lead to a decline in written language skills.
- Despite these concerns, emojis remain an incredibly popular and powerful tool for communication. They allow us to express emotions, add a touch of personality to our messages, and bridge the gaps between different languages and cultures. And it all started with the vision of one man, Shigetaka Kurita, and his team at NTT Docomo.
- The history of emojis spans several decades and involves numerous technological advancements, cultural shifts, and linguistic innovations.
Here is a detailed timeline of some of the key events in the development of emojis:
- Late 1990s: Shigetaka Kurita, a designer for the Japanese mobile phone operator NTT Docomo, creates the first set of emojis. These include 176 simple, pixelated icons that are designed to convey emotions, weather, and other concepts in a way that is quick and easy to understand.
- 1999: NTT Docomo releases the first set of emojis for its mobile phones in Japan. They are an immediate hit, and soon other Japanese mobile phone operators begin to offer their own sets of emojis.
- Early 2000s: Emojis become more popular in Japan, and they begin to appear in various forms of media, including advertising, TV shows, and movies.
- 2007: The iPhone is released, and it includes an emoji keyboard that allows users to easily add emojis to their messages. This helps to popularize emojis outside of Japan and introduces them to a global audience.
- 2010: The Unicode Consortium, a non-profit organization that oversees the development of text encoding standards, adds emojis to its list of characters. This means that emojis can now be used on a wide range of platforms and devices, and they can be translated between different languages and systems.
- 2011: Apple introduces a new set of emojis that are more detailed and realistic than previous versions. These include more diverse skin tones and a wider range of emotions and activities.
- 2013: The Oxford English Dictionary names the word "emoji" its word of the year, citing the growing popularity and influence of these digital icons.
- 2015: The Unicode Consortium releases Unicode 8.0, which includes 37 new emojis related to food, animals, and sports, as well as a range of skin tones for existing emojis.
- 2017: The Unicode Consortium releases Unicode 10.0, which includes 56 new emojis, including a T-Rex, a zombie, and a vomiting face.
- 2018: Apple releases its iOS 12 update, which includes a new set of Memoji, customizable avatars that users can create to look like themselves.
- 2020: The Unicode Consortium releases Unicode 13.0, which includes 117 new emojis, including a transgender flag, a boba tea, and a pinched fingers gesture commonly used to indicate "Italian hand gestures."
- 2021: The Unicode Consortium releases Unicode 14.0, which includes 37 new emojis, including a melting face, a heart hands gesture, and a troll.
- Throughout their history, emojis have become an integral part of our daily communication, allowing us to express emotions, convey ideas, and add a touch of personality to our messages. As technology continues to evolve and new platforms emerge, it's likely that emojis will continue to play an important role in the way we communicate with each other.
In conclusion, emojis have become an indispensable part of our communication in the digital age. They were created in Japan in the late 1990s by Shigetaka Kurita and his team at NTT Docomo, and they quickly became a hit in Japan before spreading around the world. While there have been debates about their impact on language and culture, there is no denying the power of emojis to help us express ourselves and connect with others in new and exciting ways.