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Who invented emojis?

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Cat with heart eyes, plate of spaghetti and fork, person with arms crossed in front of them, red chili pepper with stem.

If you texted me to ask what I wanted for dinner and this was my reply, you'd probably scratch your head. But if I replied:

😻🍝🙅🌶️

you'd be more likely to know that I'd love some pasta but not too spicy!

Emojis are a big part of modern communication. They use pictures to convey a message — in a lot fewer characters! But who invented this visual language?

In the late 1990s, a Japanese artist named Shigetaka Kurita created the first emoji. He was working for a mobile communications company called NTT Docomo. They were developing a new internet platform. Since it allowed for a limited number of characters, Kurita came up with the idea to replace words with pictures. This would allow people to communicate longer messages while using less data.

Over a decade later, Unicode created a universal standard set of emojis. This meant that people all over the world were using the same emoji dictionary. With everyone "speaking" the same language, emojis easily became a part of our everyday lives.

Did you know that the word "emoji" is based on the Japanese words for "picture" (e) and "character" (moji)? Now that's 😎!

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