The True Meanings of Your Fave Emoji

The True Meanings of Your Fave Emoji

Jul 16, 2016, 6:38:22 PM Tech and Science

In which your text with bunny ears, sassy hand moves, and reaching for the stars actually means, “I like that you’re anime trash. In fact, your passion for it is leading you so far into the right direction that it honestly makes me a bit lightheaded.”


Emoji aren’t a U.S. invention. Like a lot of super cool, ultra kawaii things that we enjoy, they came from the land of Japan. In the late 90s Shigetaka Kurita invented the first emoji, which was coincidentally a heart. Though the inventor may not have been able to predict it, everyone - particularly high school students - heart emoji-ed the concept so much that it led to a demand for more. He then created more of these beautiful anime-inspired images, leading to Japan’s 10+ year experience with these wonderful mini pictures. Not only does that mean that there's a bit of a learning curve to them, but because the emoji that we use are cultural imports there are a lot of things that are often lost in translation. Here are 5 emoji with meanings that may have been missed in this global journey!


Pile of Poo

Though we may often use this to describe how we feel after a terrible day or to add a bit of pizazz to any negative message, this is actually a lucky poo. The Japanese word for poo is “unko,” with a nice “oon” at the beginning which just so happens to also be the Japanese word for “luck!” Not only does this count for some super cool lucky pun points, there is a history of poo, gods, and charms being linked together in Japanese culture!

Sassy Hand Wave Gal

She’s my favorite lady in pink! I add her when I want to add a bit of sass and excitement to any shady text. Unfortunately, she’s not full of open sass at all. She’s an information desk person! Fortunately, this means she probably is full of shade, because nothing leaves you more jaded than the experience of customer service work. We’ll never truly know, though, as the cardinal rule of this work is “grin and bear it.”

Women with Bunny Ears

She’s a bunny girl! Playboy popularized the sexualization of fluffy creatures in the U.S., and that concept exists in Japan as well. Of course, there is an added anime twist as they can also be Kemonomimi which are animal/human combos that exist in some of those coveted cartoons.


Shooting Star Emoji

There is an official shooting star emoji, but this isn’t necessarily it. As anyone who has even watched a grueling and intense battle on Pokemon may know, are fave creatures are often knocked out. The animated representation of this is usually X’s for eyes and a couple of spinning circles rotating around there face. This is simply a cuter version of that concept.

Name Badge Emoji

Sometimes my Snapstory or the group chat is too lit and fire emoji just aren’t enough. I usually pop this one in then to really bring across my enthusiasm, but I can admit that I had zero clue what it actually meant. Apparently, this is just a name badge. In Japan, this style of name tag is popular among elementary school students. If you have a Microsoft or HTC phone, you may already know this as they are represented there by the popular western counterpart for them, but now the rest of us can be brought into the light.

Published by Liv Glenn

Comments (1)

Jul 16, 2016, 6:48:58 PM

Wow this was awesome information about the use of emojis and their meanings. I never would have assumed some of the differences in meanings. Good blog post :)

Comment here...

Login / Sign up for adding comments.