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Happy World Emoji Day

July 15, 2017


Illustration by Muhammad Faizan
Illustration by Muhammad Faizan

We all know that emojis or emoticons have taken over the world of internet and mobile phones. First there were words, but now emojis are being used to convey one’s thoughts to others, whether relatives, friends or loved ones. We often add these small little colourful images/faces with the text and also without text, just to represent our mood or feeling, or even as a reply. Text can’t convey tone in the way the voice can, and emojis bridge that gap by visually expressing our feelings in a quick and easy way.

Emojis are used almost in all things, not just texts messages. They have a strong presence on the physical world, on T-shirts, bed sheets, curtains, jewellery, headgears, bags, and what not! Even many of our friends like to glue emoji stickers on the cover of their school/collage bags.

world, on T-shirts, bed sheets, curtains, jewellery, headgears, bags, and what not! Even many of our friends like to glue emoji stickers on the cover of their school/collage bags.

If you are an emoji enthusiast and frequently use emojis, get ready for the online celebration of the World Emoji Day on July 17. The day was suggested by Emojipedia (emoji dictionary) founder Jeremy Burge in 2014. And since then it is celebrated annually and the purpose of the day is to prop up the use of emojis and embrace the enjoyment that they bring to all of us.

How it all began?

It was the year 1999, when cellphone companies in Japan noticed that cellphone users were increasingly using large size picture messages as a way to communicate. It was difficult for the mobile phone operators to keep their network running smoothly because a single picture message can take the size of 100 messages.

DoKoMo i-mode, a mobile phone provider in Japan, was the first company to figure out this problem and, therefore, the first emojis were created by Shigetaka Kurita, who was working for NTT Docomo. The company introduced a series of images of things such as faces, weather, emotions or activities known as emojis. They became popular when Apple added the emoji keyboard to their iPhone 5 in 2012.

Eventually, in 2000, a library of over 1000 smiley graphics was introduced to the world, and since then internet technology has advanced a great deal, the use of the emojis has become a part and parcel of it. Emojis add life to our daily texts. A study in 2015 found that emojis are used by 92 percent of the online population. And every now and then, new emojis are being introduced by various mobile phone companies.

What is an Emoji?

Emoji is a computer language, just like alphabets in English. It consists of little colourful images used in expressing an idea or emotion in electronic communication.

The name emoji comes from two Japanese words, ‘e’ means ‘picture’ and ‘moji’ means ‘character’, hence the meaning of emoji is ‘pictograph’.

In 2013, Jeremy Burge created Emojipedia, an online emoji dictionary, where everyone can find symbols and their meanings accordingly. All emojis are divided into the following categories.

Food and drink

As the name suggests, this category consists of images of your favourite red apple, pear, tangerine, banana, grapes, cake, ice-cream, chocolate bar doughnut, slice of pizza, honey pot, bread and so many others.

Smiley and people

This popular category comprises the smiley face, face with a frown, face with tears of joy, open mouth face, heart-shaped eyes in a face, an angry face, a face that is loudly crying, a worried face, and face with a zipper mouth, etc.

Don’t we use these everyday to express our feelings?

Animal and nature

This category includes fish, dog, cat, frog, turtle, dolphin and a variety of other animals. The category also has images related to nature, like the palm tree, maple leaf, ear of rice, and various flowers such as hibiscus, sunflower, rose, tulip, cherry blossom and bouquet, and different phases of the sun, moon and stars.

Activities: This category consist of the swimmer, surfer, bath, ball weight, mountain bicyclist, horse racing, bowling, man in business suit levitating, trophy, military, reminder ribbon, performing arts, microphone, headphone and other musical instruments.

Travel and people

This one consists of a wide variety of images like Ferris wheel, roller coaster, silhouette of Japan, camping, tent, national park, motorway, railway track, sunrise over mountain, mosque, church, etc.


Icons in this category include bed, door, world map, umbrella on the ground, bags, balloon, party popper, Japanese dolls, wind chime, envelope, closed mailbox with lowered flag, calendar, etc.


You will find a lot of icons like black heart, yellow heart, green heart, blue heart, purple heart, broken heart, two hearts, and etc., here. They are all so very helpful in expressing the different feelings being experienced by users.

Facts about emojis:

• The total number of emojis currently stands at 2,666.

• Emoji is the world’s fastest growing language. In the past two years, over ten billion emojis were used on Twitter.

• The word emoji was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2013.

• In March 2015, Instagram, an online mobile photo-sharing, video-sharing and social-networking platform, reported that nearly half of the texts on Instagram contained emojis.

• New emojis are being added all the time. In 2017, the Unicode Consortium finalised 69 new ones, including a vampire, a genie, a mermaid and many others.

• All popular emojis give positive meanings.

• A restaurant “Little Yellow Door” in London city has written its menu in emoji language.

• Pop star Justin Bieber has developed his emoji app known as ‘justmoji’.

• The face with tears of joy in the eyes is the most used emoji worldwide. The red heart, the heart eyes face and the pink hearts emojis meanwhile fall in second, third and fourth places.

Published in Dawn, Young World July 15th, 2017l