By Maddy Propis
In the late 1900s, Nicolas Loufrani attempted to create a more colorful and interactive keyboard. He created emoticons, such as enhanced punctuation marks, flags, moods, celebrations, fun, sports, weather, animals, food, occupations, and many more. These were all created as .gif files at the United States Copyright Office and were posted on the Web for public use. These emoticons were introduced differently than the emojis we all know and love that are on today’s iPhones and other cellular devices.
Today’s emoji, the newer version of the emoticon, was invented in Japan by Shigetaka Kurita. He was part of the team working on NTT DoCoMo’s i-mode mobile Internet platform (a Japanese communication network company). Originally, emojis were supposed to be used to show weather, stocks, and street signs. They were meant to show the emotional side of everyday objects and lifestyles in Japan. Initially, Kurita created 180 specific emojis based on facial expressions and other objects he had seen in the city.
Loufrani and Kurita both had an impact on the emoji of today. Now, emoji is extremely popular all over the world. Today’s emojis were already popular in Japan, but when Steve Jobs decided to go to Japan to promote his first iPhone, the emojis were about to get bigger than anyone initially imagined. Japanese technology was more advanced than that of the original iPhone, but Japan’s fifth largest mobile operator, Software, was willing to negotiate a deal with Jobs if they included emojis in the next iPhone. From that moment on, emojis became popular in the lives of people all around the world.
Today, kids and adults have become fascinated by the emoji. Pillows, bedding, clothing, and many other typical household items now have pictures of emojis on them. This summer, I worked as a camp counselor, and I noticed that more than half of my campers owned something that had an emoji on it whether it be a laundry bag, sticker, or rug. Emoji has created a huge market and has proven to be a positive way to spread emotion throughout the world.
Photo courtesy of pinterest.com