The Story of Emojis

Rancho Labs
4 min readMay 6, 2021

So, you all might be using emojis in your day-to-day lives to send them to your friends, families and colleagues! But have you ever questioned yourselves how this actually came into existence? Well, before letting you know that; someone might don’t know what emojis are! — It is a small digital image or icon used to express an idea or emotion.

Just like a lot of things in our lives, emojis didn’t always exist, they weren’t always a thing; someone had to create them! So, who created them and WHY? Well, it turns out that emojis were invented back in the late 1990s — when your parents were teens most prolly! They were invented by Shigetaka Kurita from Japan. In fact, the word emoji comes from Japanese which means “Picture Word”.

Now, as an inventor the reason Kurita came up with the idea of emojis is that he was trying to solve a problem! Huh? Now, what do you think it was? What problems do you think emojis solve?

Just imagine if there were no emojis and a person went to send their friend a message. For example, imagine someone asks their friend, “Want to work on our project after school today?” and then the friend responds like this — “Sure” *phone boops* Now, think about this reply though Does he mean, “Sure!” like he’s excited about it or “Mm, sure”, like eh, he’s really not wanting to do this. Typing or writing a message to someone — it might not be clear how that person feels. Compare that to when someone is talking to you in person like you can tell here, this person is excited or happy! You can usually see and hear how excited someone is. But while typing, you can’t hear someone’s voice and you can’t see their face.

So, this is the reason why Kurita invented emojis to solve this problem since emojis help people share how they’re feeling and express their tonality. When you’re speaking, you give tone to your words by doing things like changing your voice and your facial expressions. But when you’re writing the tonality can fade away and might create misconceptions at times.

When they were first invented, there were only 200 emojis; all of them really simple emojis in black and white, but now there are over 1000+ emojis — all colorful and detailed, covering all kinds of different feelings.

The first set of 176 12*12 pixel emoji was developed as part of i-messaging mode’s capabilities to assist with electronic communication and to set the app apart from others. Kurita designed the first 180 emojis based on the gestures he saw people make and other objects he saw around town. These days, Unicode (The Unicode is the Universal Standard that describes all possible characters of all languages and a lot of symbols with one unique number for each character or symbol. Hundreds of emoji characters were encoded in the Unicode Standard in version 6.0 released in October 2010. Unicode 12.0 contains emoji using 1,311 characters.), a non-profit whose stakeholders are often major international computer corporations based in the United States, regulates emoji. In total there are 3,521 emojis in the Unicode Standard as of October 2020. This includes sequences for gender or skin tone, flags, and the components that are used to create keycap, flag, and other sequences.

All this is great, but sometimes you don’t understand the meaning of several emojis. What to do then? Where to go and refer to the meaning of emojis? Is there even a platform for it? Surprisingly, yes!!

Emojipedia is an emoji dictionary where you can find the meaning of all the emojis according to the Unicode standard. It also shows how each emoji is distinct in every mobile phone.

We believe that Emojis have expressive force. Let’s use that to make programming more fun and accessible. You read that right. Now, you can code with the help of emojis! Emojicode is a straightforward language to learn regardless of your academic background.

Cheers! *wink emoji*

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Rancho Labs

Tech enthusiasts fostering young minds to have a strong foothold in Coding | Robotics | Artificial Intelligence.