Who invented the ‘face with tears of joy’ emoji?

The most used emojis in 2019 (Source: Unicode)

In the world of digital communication, one emoji reigns supreme: 😂.

Per the Unicode Consortium — a non-profit that sets standards for emojis — the “face with tears of joy” is the most-used emoji of 2021 (5%+ of all usage).

The emoji also topped the only previous list (2019). The ❤️ emoji was 2nd in both years.

Emojis were invented…

… in the late 1990s in Japan by NTT DoCoMo, one of the country’s leading telecoms.

Per The Guardian, NTT wanted to woo young consumers to its pager product and an employee — Shigetaka Kurita — suggested the use of simple images to accompany text.

Kurita created a 1st batch of 176 emojis “inspired by manga, Chinese characters and street signs” that laid the groundwork for future emojis.

The ‘face with tears of joy’…

… first came out as part of an emoji set from a competing Japanese telecom, SoftBank.

The Unicode Consortium officially blessed the emoji with its name in 2010. At the time, emojis were still very much a Japanese thing.

Apple didn’t make emoji keyboards an international standard for iOS until 2011. Emojis exploded in the following years.

By 2015, 😂 was already the most popular emoji on Twitter and it’s been pure dominance since.

Interesting: Among health-related emojis, “only 🥵 and 🥴 managed to enter the Top 100 in 2021. 😷 moved up from 186 to 156 while 🦠 only just made it into the Top 500.”

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