If you’re alive today and have a cell phone, you’ve probably sent an emoji (絵文字). The word “emoji” actually comes from Japan e (絵, “picture”) + moji (文字, “character”), 絵文字! They are, after all, the ones who invented them. The word literally means picture letter, and it’s similarity to “emotions” or “emoticons” is coincidental. But most built-in messaging apps for Android or iPhone have a pretty boring selection of tiny picture letters to help you express yourself. Japanese emoticons, however, take emojis to a WHOLE NEW LEVEL. It’s not just Japan either — Korea, China — all the Asian emojis are better than ours! What do I mean exactly? Let’s take a look at some standard Android emojis:
There are some cute faces, some cute animals, and pizza, of course! They are all 12×12 pixels as a standard size. But rather than use standard text messaging, the Koreans developed an app similar to WhatsApp called Kakao (its competitor is Line in Japan) that uses “stickers” instead of emojis. You’ve probably seen these hilariously adorable images on Facebook messenger too. They’re like emoticons, but WAY BETTER. Line and Kakao are used even more than Facebook in Japan and Korea, so making Japanese emoticons better was an obvious way to go. Apps like Line and Kakao are the standard in Japan and Korea, as opposed to regular built-in messaging in most countries. Of course, Facebook stickers are just copying what Japan and Korea had already done. The best part about Japanese emoticons is they NEVER END! Since they charge about $2 per “package” people are creating new ones all the time to be sold in the Line Emoji Store. Yes, there is a whole store! They even have Japanese emoticons from your favorite manga and anime too!!! Can you recognize any below?
Now for the fun part! Here are some packages of emojis that you can buy and add to your phone! Even better, most of these are ANIMATED EMOJIS! If you want to see the animation for most of them, you’ll have to download the Kakao or Line app…and tell your friends!