Did you see the Emoji Movie this summer?
The movie about animated emojis was released two months ago at theaters. But unfortunately, it turned out to be a huge flop and did not receive good remarks from many critics. However, have you ever wondered where the emoji even came from?
Emoji is a combination of the Japanese words “e”(meaning “picture”) and “moji” (meaning character”). By definition, an emoji is a digital image used to express ideas, objects, and emotions in particular. These days, emojis have become a global phenomenon and are sent through text messages to convey some sort of message to others.
History Of Emojis
The use of emojis first started in Japan, and the title “the father of the emoji” is accredited to Shigetaka Kurita.
Before emojis, electronic communication was only through words and text messages. Kurita thought of using pictures to convey things that are hard to explain with words and thus the idea for an emoji was born.
Kurita first went to several technology companies to offer his idea. When he realized that none of them wanted to design emojis themselves, Kurita and his team handmade the first pixelated emojis on their own. They then created a code for a special emoji keyboard. Once they had created the first set of 176 basic emojis, major technology companies in Japan loved the idea and added them to their electronic devices. From there, the popularity of the emoji immediately rose in Japan, as animation was also added to several emojis.
A few years later, Apple added the emoji keyboard to their iPhones in order to compete in the Japanese market. Google Android followed soon after. Thus, the emoji became a global phenomenon and was available across all platforms.
Approving A New Emoji
Today there are over 1600 emoji characters that represent any emotion you are feeling right now, to what food you want to eat! However, getting a new emoji approved is not as simple as it seems.
A special committee called the "Unicode Consortium" is responsible for evaluating and approving new emojis, and some could take up to two years. Anyone can propose an emoji, but they have to provide a strong case for it, as well as provide a black-and-white and a color image.
The committee then evaluates the proposal, compares it to other existing emojis, seeks comments, and then votes on it -- which can take up to 6 months. Once approved, it can take another year or more to add features like color changes (as you may have seen on the face palm emoji on your smartphone). Then it is up to Google and Apple to decide whether to include the new emoji into their set.
As you can see in the video below, pictures are worth a thousand words! So next time you send a text, don’t forget to add an emoji or two!