Understanding Japanese Kaomoji Emotions
9 March 2010
Emoticons (emotional icons) are used to compensate for the inability to convey voice inflections, facial expressions, and bodily gestures in written communication. Some emoticons are better known as "smileys." Emoticons can be very effective toward avoiding misinterpretation of the writer's intents. While there are no standard definitions for the following emoticons, we have supplied their most usual meanings. In Japan hardly any email or IM message get written which doesn’t contain some form of smileys or emoticons. While emoji (graphical presentations of emoticons) are probably most known, “kaomoji” (from “kao” = face, “moji” = character) are the Japanese version of Western emoticons and there are practically endless variations available. The biggest difference to the Western counterpart is probably that they are read horizontally and you don’t need to turn your head to understand them, for example the Western emoticon for “Happy” looks like this :-) while the Japanese version looks like this (^_^).