Vibe 25: The first set of emojis were released in 1999 in Japan - Hindustan Times
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Vibe 25: The first set of emojis were released in 1999 in Japan

ByAbigail banerji
Feb 18, 2024 09:15 PM IST

In 1997, a Japanese broadband service released a phone with 90 emojis, including the first poop emoji.

Over the years, emojis have evolved to become an integral part of our communication, replacing words and even emotions. As HT City celebrates turning 25 years, we look back at the first set of 176 emojis that were released in February 1999 and popularised the use of these tiny digital images in our texting lexicon.

176 set of emojis were released in 1999 in Japan
176 set of emojis were released in 1999 in Japan

176 emoji set that were released in 1999
176 emoji set that were released in 1999

Japanese interface designer Shigetaka Kurita created and released these icons for a Japanese mobile phone operator NTT DoCoMo. The emojis, where ‘e’ means picture and ‘moji’ means character, were used in mobile phones and pagers. As the service only allowed for 250 characters, the intention was to help facilitate communication on these devices, while also offering their users something new to distinguish itself from other services.

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Shigetaka Kurita
Shigetaka Kurita

Kurita is often incorrectly credited as the first-ever emojis to be released. However, in 1997, a Japanese broadband service, SoftBank, released a phone with 90 emojis, including the first use of the poop emoji. But the designer/s remain unknown.

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