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Why do we use kaomoji?

Kaomoji, which are sometimes referred to as Japanese emoticons, are a fun and playful way to express a range of emotions and ideas using only a few simple characters. Whether you're feeling happy, sad, excited, or simply want to inject some humor into your conversations, kaomoji are a fantastic way to get your point across with just a few strokes of the keyboard.

What sets kaomoji apart is their ability to encapsulate a wide range of emotions, from happiness and excitement to sadness, surprise, and even confusion. By using a combination of punctuation marks, letters, and special characters, kaomoji can convey a whole spectrum of human emotions and nuances.

There is no denying the popularity of Japanese culture worldwide, and kaomoji are just one example of the playful, creative nature of Japanese language and expression. From the classic smiley face :) to the more intricate and elaborate designs, kaomoji are a great way to add a touch of levity and humor to your online conversations.

But, what is the difference between American and Japanese emoji? American and Japanese emojis differ in both style and usage. While American emojis focus on conveying emotions and reactions, Japanese emojis include a vast array of characters, from animals and food to landmarks and weather. Additionally, Japanese emojis often have deeper cultural meanings and can be used as a form of artistic expression. More in the video:

You can learn more about the history and meaning of Japanese emoticons in this article:

The history of the creation

The word “kaomoji” is derived from two Japanese words: “kao”, which means “face”, and “moji”, which means “character”. One of the earliest examples of kaomoji dates back to the 1980s in Japan. They were primarily used in online messaging as a replacement for facial expressions in face-to-face conversations. The first kaomoji was created by a Japanese person named Yasuo Kawauchi. The kaomoji was created to express the emotions of the writer, without having to express it verbally.

Scott Fahlman is a computer scientist and professor at Carnegie Mellon University who is best known for inventing the emoticon. In 1982, as a way to convey tone in online messages, Fahlman suggested using :-) for indicating humor and :-( for indicating sadness or frustration. The symbols were derived from a message originally posted on 19 September 1982. On 10 September 2002, Jeff Baird discovered and read the message:

I propose that the following character sequence for joke markers:


Read it sideways. Actually, it is probably more economical to mark
things that are NOT jokes, given current trends. For this, use


Scott E Fahlman, 19-Sep-82 11:44

Kaomoji became popular outside of Japan in the 1990s when emoticons were first used in western countries. The early versions of these emoticons were primarily composed of punctuation marks such as colons, dashes, and parentheses, which were used to create smiley faces.

As the internet developed, so too did kaomoji. More sophisticated forms of kaomoji evolved and took on different shapes and styles, with the use of different characters and symbols to represent a wide range of emotions.

Expressing emotions

One of the things people love about kaomoji is that they allow for a great deal of creativity and expression. Whether you're using them to convey specific emotions, make a joke, or simply to add some personality to your messages, there is no shortage of fun and imaginative ways to use these emoticons.

Kaomoji give the text a strong emotional coloring. Compare two sentences:

  1. We had a great time

  2. We had a great time (/^▽^)/

If you're feeling happy and want to convey that feeling to someone, there are plenty of kaomoji to choose from. The classic smiley face is always a great option, but there are also plenty of other designs that can help you convey a sense of joy and well-being. The (^_^) design, for example, is a popular choice for expressing happiness, while the (^o^) design is a playful and slightly silly take on the classic emoticon.

Of course, it's not just happy emotions that kaomoji can express - there are plenty of options for sadness, anger, frustration, and other negative emotions as well. Whether you want to vent your frustrations with the (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻ design or express sadness with the (;_;) design, there are plenty of options for every mood.

The same emotion can be expressed by a variety of kaomoji:

Happy SadLove
(o^∀^) (。╯︵╰。) (◍•ᴗ•◍)♡ ✧*。
\(★ω★)/ (ノω・、) ♡^▽^♡
(b ᵔ▽ᵔ)b (。•́︿•̀。) ♡ლ(-༗‿༗-)ლ♡

Kaomoji express not only emotions but also depict various animals, objects, and even well-known characters from pop culture. Some kaomoji designs are incredibly detailed, requiring careful arrangement of characters, while others are simpler yet equally endearing. For instance, the classic (^_^) conveys a cheerful and friendly demeanor, while the (ಠ_ಠ) represents a perplexed or disapproving expression.

The kawaii culture of Japan, characterized by its emphasis on cuteness, has greatly influenced the development of kaomoji. Kawaii emoji Japan showcases adorable faces with big eyes, rosy cheeks, and charming smiles. These kawaii kaomoji have a universal appeal, captivating users with their innocent and playful nature.

The versatility

One of the things that makes kaomoji so special is the fact that they are uniquely Japanese in origin. Although they have become popular globally, they remain deeply tied to Japanese language and culture. This gives them a unique charm and personality that is instantly recognizable to fans of Japanese culture around the world. According to internet users:

  • "kaomoji are a universal language that anyone can understand, regardless of their native tongue";

  • "in the world of kaomoji, even a simple smiley face can brighten someone's day";

  • "kaomoji is the ultimate tool for expressing oneself on the internet".

Thanks to the internet and the widespread use of smartphones, kaomoji have become a universal language of emotion. People use them to enhance their text messages, social media posts, emails, and even in professional settings. By incorporating kaomoji into their digital conversations, individuals can add a personal touch, convey their feelings with precision, and evoke a sense of warmth and friendliness.

Whether you encounter a (^▽^) in a lighthearted conversation or a (╥_╥) in a moment of sadness, kaomoji have become an integral part of our daily digital interactions. They have transcended cultural boundaries, spreading joy, and conveying emotions in a unique and engaging way. So the next time you feel like adding a dash of cuteness or expressing yourself beyond words, don't hesitate to dive into the world of kaomoji and let your emotions come to life through Japanese emoticons beauty.

Whether you're looking for a way to add some personality and humor to your online conversations or simply want to explore the creative possibilities of Japanese language and expression, kaomoji are a fantastic tool to have in your arsenal. From happy faces to silly animals and everything in between, there is no shortage of fun and fanny designs to choose from. So why not give them a try and see what kinds of emotions and ideas you can express with just a few simple keystrokes?

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