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An emoji (/ɪˈmoʊdʒiː/ i-MOH-jee; plural emoji or emojis) is a pictogram, logogram, ideogram or smiley used in electronic messages and web pages. The primary function of emojis is to fill in emotional cues otherwise missing from typed conversation. Some examples of emojis are 😃, 🧘🏻♂️, 🌍, 🍞, 🚗, 📞, 🎉, ❤️, 🍆, and 🏁. Emojis exist in various genres, including facial expressions, common objects, places and types of weather, and animals. They are much like emoticons, but emojis are pictures rather than typographic approximations; the term "emoji" in the strict sense refers to such pictures which can be represented as encoded characters, but it is sometimes applied to messaging stickers by extension. Originally meaning pictograph, the word emoji comes from Japanese e (絵, 'picture') + moji (文字, 'character'); the resemblance to the English words emotion and emoticon is purely coincidental. The ISO 15924 script code for emoji is Zsye.
Originating on Japanese mobile phones in 1997, emojis became increasingly popular worldwide in the 2010s after being added to several mobile operating systems. They are now considered to be a large part of popular culture in the West and around the world. In 2015, Oxford Dictionaries named the Face with Tears of Joy emoji (😂) the word of the year.
The popularity of emoji has caused pressure from vendors and international markets to add additional designs into the Unicode standard to meet the demands of different cultures. Unicode 7.0 added approximately 250 emoji, many from the Webdings and Wingdings fonts. Some characters now defined as emoji are inherited from a variety of pre-Unicode messenger systems not only used in Japan, including Yahoo and MSN Messenger. Unicode 8.0 added another 41 emoji, including articles of sports equipment such as the cricket bat, food items such as the taco, signs of the Zodiac, new facial expressions, and symbols for places of worship.
There are several sources of emoji characters. A single character can exist in multiple sources, and characters from a source were unified with existing characters where appropriate: for example, the "shower" weather symbol (☔️) from the ARIB source was unified with an existing umbrella with raindrops character, which had been added for KPS 9566 compatibility. The emoji characters named "Rain" ("雨", ame) from all three Japanese carriers were in turn unified with the ARIB character.
Emoji characters vary slightly between platforms within the limits in meaning defined by the Unicode specification, as companies have tried to provide artistic presentations of ideas and objects. For example, following an Apple tradition, the calendar emoji on Apple products always shows July 17, the date in 2002 Apple announced its iCal calendar application for macOS. This led some Apple product users to initially nickname July 17 "World Emoji Day". Other emoji fonts show different dates or do not show a specific one.
Some Apple emoji are very similar to the SoftBank standard, since SoftBank was the first Japanese network on which the iPhone launched. For example, U+1F483 💃 DANCER is female on Apple and SoftBank standards but male or gender-neutral on others.
As of July 2017, there were 2,666 emoji on the official Unicode Standard list.
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