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Encourage electronic communications with Japanese emoticons

Japanese emoticons are used by children and adults alike in Japan, and few emails are spared a sprinkling of smiley faces. This article will discuss some interesting issues about how Japanese emoticons, or kaomoji, facial characters as they are known in Japanese, are used in communication.

First, where did they come from? When the Western emoticon turned 25 there was quite a bit of coverage in the press, but what about Japanese emoticons? The story goes that around May 1986 (compared to September 19, 1982 for :-)) one of the first horizontal emoticons appeared in Japan, the now classic (^_^), but it was invented by a Korean named Kim Tong Ho, but he claims that he saw an earlier Japanese emoticon (~_~) in a post by a nuclear scientist! The true origin of Japanese kaomoji seems to remain a mystery.

Regardless of history, for many adults, Japanese emoticons are an important part of communication. On a cell phone, about two in five use at least one on average, and about 14% use three or more. Due to their frequent use, almost everyone is used to seeing them, and only 1.3% of the population that uses mobile phones is put off by their presence in received mail. Although mobile phones come with a myriad of smileys built-in (even after 10 years I still have trouble understanding Japanese smileys!), 36.5% choose to use their own set of custom smileys to improve or completely replace existing ones. built-in mobile phone emoticons.

In the computer world, these Asian emoticons are just as popular (if not more so) because of a full-size screen that allows much more room to let the imagination run wild, with some coming close to being transformed into ASCII art. However, ASCII art is probably a misnomer, as these Japanese emoticons also use non-ASCII double-byte characters. The spiritual home of the Japanese emoticon is perhaps the world’s largest bulletin board site, 2 channels, whose unofficial mascot is Mona, a cat emoticon which unfortunately cannot be reproduced correctly here in ASCII text!

Not only on the mobile phone, but also when writing a standard computer email, Japanese emoticons are used and abused. A survey of the top thirty Japanese emoticons showed that the top five were, in reverse order, as follows: At number 5, m(_ _), an apologetic emoticon; number 4, (ToT) a crying emoticon; number 3, (^_^;) a worried emoticon – the semicolon indicates sweat; in number 2, (>_ another worried emoticon, but this one more angry than number 3 embarrassed; and in number 1, (^_^) or (^_^)v laughing or happy emoticons.

As you can see, for both children and adults, emoticons are a key part of expression, not only in mobile phones and email, but these Japanese emoticons can be found in instant messengers, bulletin boards, and now they are becoming popular in Japan. , emoticons for Twitter can be seen frequently. Try to liven up your communications with Japanese emoticons too!

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