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Kaomoji: history and rules of use

What is "Kaomoji"? In short, kaomoji are Japanese text emoticons.

Kaomoji (顔文字) is a distinctive Japanese style of emoticons in the digital world. Kaomoji consist of various signs and symbols available on digital devices. These are mainly kanji (漢字 - Chinese characters that are now used in modern Japanese writing) and various punctuation marks.

Kaomoji (顔 文字. 顔 - face, 文字 - symbol) has been popularized for quite some time. Around 1986 (according to wikipedia) kaomoji started their journey with the online services ASCII NET and Byte Information Exchange (BIX).

A distinctive feature of the Japanese style of character emoticons is the absence of the need to rotate the image in order to understand its meaning (as opposed to the western style).

For example:

  • Western-style :)
  • Japanese-style ^_^

In reality, we don't have to literally turn our head or gadget to read Western-style emoticons.

If we try to briefly describe the structure of kaomoji, we can say that the basis for most emoticons is the face. Eyes and mouth - in most cases, these are the main facial features that convey the emotional color of one or another kaomoji.

Additional elements in the form of a nose, ears and hair are also not uncommon. The whole variety of symbols and techniques in which they are used in kaomoji, which depict rather complex feelings or actions, are especially clearly expressed.

In the form of kaomoji, you can find a large number of different characters, such as animals. All emoticons are very ingenious (considering the use of a limited number of symbols) and artistically. Many of them adopted the style of painting emotions from manga and anime. This is what became the fundamental factor in the spread of kaomoji among manga / anime online communities around the world (including Russian-speaking communities).

I would like to note that kaomoji are used in everyday life of people not only in narrowly focused communities. Text emoticons convey a wide range of emotions in a very funny, cute and even beautiful way that you just want to use.

In the early days of the Internet, text emoticons were very useful tools in conveying emotional color and complementing messages in emails and various chats. Also, the gain in popularity of the text format of emoticons was the slow speed of the Internet connection.

How are Kaomoji drawn/written?

For the depiction of Japanese kaomoji emoticons , one pattern is mainly used, which depicts a face from a set of characters.

For example:

  • ^_^
  • ^ eye
  • _ mouth

Around the simple structure of the face, further magic of conveying emotional color begins.

The eyes and mouth can be depicted in different shapes with symbols to convey a specific emotion. At this stage, the imagination and "observation" of graphic works in the form of manga or animation, in the form of anime films and TV series play an important role.

For example, not everyone at first glance will understand that kaomoji T_T depicts crying, or rather streams of tears. Also, these characters are sometimes interpreted as "not surprised" or "I'm not surprised".

Many emotions are conveyed by the eyes, so much attention is paid to them. There are even short kaomoji that need to be perceived as eyes and transmitted emotion.

A different image of the mouth or even nose conveys the emotional color very well. For example, in the form of a point, you can depict a cute, small, neat mouth - (^. ^)

Additional symbols betray clearer emotions characteristic of a certain physical state of the body. For example, in this kaomoji (-_-;), a semicolon is used to denote nervousness, anxiety and depression (visually depicting a drop of sweat protruding on the forehead). As noted above, many techniques for depicting emotions have moved to the digital world of correspondence from graphic novels.

Many modern devices support Unicode encoding (includes all characters of almost all written languages ​​of the world, including Cyrillic), which allows you to transfer digital characters and characters without distorting them (for example, on another operating system).

Thus, the number of possible kaomoji became almost endless. You can depict any emotions and actions with a fairly large number of characters available in Unicode and they will also be displayed on other devices (if they support this encoding).