The term “Emoji” is a pictogram, logogram, ideogram or aka a smiley embedded in a text and used while texting or in web pages. The function of emoji is to fill in emotional cues which we miss from the normal text-text conversation. Emojis exist in various genres including facial expression, common objects, place or the type of weather. World Emoji Day is celebrated globally on 17 July.

The word “emoji” comes from Japanese (pictures + character) which resembles the English word “emoticon” which is purely coincidental. The concept for emoji came into practice in 1982 by an English computer scientist Scott Fahiman, although at the time the suggestion made by him was for text-based symbols which could be used to replace language. The emoji concept became a mainstream idea in the 1990s when the Japanese, the Americans and the Europeans started to experiment with modified versions of Scott Fahiman’s idea. In 1995 the French newspaper announced that the “Alcatel” would be launching a new phone and the special thing about this new phone “BC 600” was that it displayed a digital smiley face replacing the usual “welcome text” and since then other devices also started using emojis such as in 1997, J-Phone launched Skywalker DP-211SW which contained a set of 90 emojis. In 1999 sets of 176 emojis were created and were used in mobile platforms, they were intended to help electronic communication and serve as a distinguishing feature from other services. Due to the influence, Kurita’s designs claimed the first cellular emoji. The Kurita’s designs for emojis had taken inspiration from the Japanese manga. Since the 1990s Nokia phones began including the presently used pictograms in the text messaging apps, which today are defined as “smiley and symbols”. The basic 12-12 emojis in Japan grew popularly across various platforms and in 2000 to 2004 in just 4 years i-mode had 40 million subscribers who were exposed to the emojis or were using them. Since 2004 many Americans and Europeans also began discussing how to introduce the emoji sets, companies started to take emojis seriously after google started to look into the possibility of a uniform emoji set, not much later but Apple also quickly followed in google footsteps. Google started introducing emojis in Gmail too in October 2008 and with the release of Apple new iPhone OS apple released colour emojis. In 2015 the skin tone indicators emojis were introduced. Today the emojis have gotten so popular that it has caused pressure from vendors and in international markets for companies to add additional designs into the Unicode standards to meet the demands of different cultures. Some characters which are now defined as emojis are inherited from a variety of pre-unicode messenger systems and they are not only used in Japan but everywhere and also in platforms such as Yahoo and MSN messenger. In December 2015 a sentiment analysis of emoji was published with the Emoji sentiment Ranking 1.0 was provided, In January 2017 the first large scale emoji usage was observed and analysed the most used emoji is to believed was the Face With the Tears of Joy. The Heart and the Heart eyes emoji stood at the second and third place. Countries like Australia, France and the Czech Republic used more happy emojis to express themselves whereas countries like Mexico, Colombia, Chile and Argentina used more negative emojis. Emojis have developed so much over the years that many countries legal experts have started to discuss whether emojis could be admissible as evidence in court trials or not and today Emojis are incorporated more than just to express people’s reactions but various applications like Snapchat had also incorporated emojis in its trophy and friend’s system.

For Example – If Snapchat wants to inform a user friend that it is the user’s birthday then instead of informing them through a text, Snapchat presents a “Birthday Cake” emoji in front of the user’s username.


Each Emoji vary slightly between the platforms and there have been many controversial emojis such as the Pistol emoji or the Knife Emoji or the bomb emoji that authorities deem credible threats. But various companies have dealt with these emojis and the controversies around them in a normal way as in the year 2016 Apple changed the pistol emoji from a realistic revolver to a water pistol as for Microsoft when their windows 10 was announced they changed the revolver emoji to toy ray-gun revolver.

World Emoji Day

The World Emoji day occurs on the 17th of July which is intended to celebrate the use of emoji’s. The World Emoji day according to CNBC has started to occur since 2014. It is “the brainchild” of Jeremy Burge who is also the founder of Emojipedia. The reason we celebrate emoji day is to learn and celebrate the importance of emojis and how they have evolved over time. According to people on this day people celebrate only through emoji and every year new emojis are introduced on the emoji day. In the year 2021 3 emojis such as A saluting face, biting lip and a low battery were the emoji that were approved for use.

Emojis in Metaverse

From Emojis to Memoji. Memojis were introduced by Apple as part of their messaging app. In 2017 Apple added a feature called ‘Animoji’ that was used by Apple’s Face ID camera system so that the system can scan the user’s face to mimic facial expressions. In 2018 Apple’s new Emoji feature allowed the user to not only create a user based on their expressions but also it can look like them. After memoji it was Snapchat that introduced the Bitmoji that allows the user to create a realistic depiction of themselves, but it was Facebook new feature which Facebook rolled out that was the Facebook avatar, a digital recreation using the image-processing software with depth sensors from smartphones.

An Avatar in the metaverse will not only give us the ability to make our avatar of how we want to but we will not be constrained by weather, territory, or any aspect of the physicality. A metaverse avatar will be one of the most critical pieces of the virtual world.

Author – Mr. Anuj Dhyani, Intern, CyberPeace Foundation
Reviewed – Mr. Abhishek Singh, Research Associate, CyberPeace Foundation

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