Why Japanese Use Kaomoji

Why Japanese Use Kaomoji

Japanese emoji is Kaomoji

Forget about using your regular Emoji’s and convert to Kaomoji (顔文字), Japan’s version of the Emoji. Kaomoji are made up of grammar, special character and punctuation all of which can be found on your regular keyboard or keypad.

You do like to put emoticons in your SMS, email or message, right? The Japanese too! But they did even better.

No more simple and boring emoticons! Here are the Kaomoji! These are cute emoticons, more elaborate than in the West and which can express in 1,000 different ways our feelings or look like heads of animals. In this case, the Kaomoji actually have a head or face, unlike emoticons.


The word Kaomoji comes from combining, kao顔 – face and moji 文字 – character.

The popularity and first usage of Kaomoji came about in 1986 after the popularization of the classic, : – ) Emoji. Japan took this a step further and developed a way incorporating Katakana to create Kaomoji so you didn’t have to tilt your head on the side to comprehend the text based imagery.

Japanese users of Kaomoji in the late 80’s used them to fulfil a simple purpose. They didn’t want their tone and emotions to be misunderstood when it came to sending messages. For example, something they intended to be a joke would be hard to decipher the feel without the use of Kaomoji. It was away for them to express their emotion with more than just words.

Westerners adopted this style of anime-like emoticons through their own English keyboard, coming up with the infamous Kirby style emoticon. <(^_^<), <(o_o<), <( -‘.’- )>, <(‘.’-^)

Kaomoji’s Structure

The Kaomoji replace the smileys or emoticons in Japan. They are similar to this one (_). In kaomoji, the parentheses are the facial delimitation. The asterisks are the eyes and the underscore the mouth. In some cases, by changing the character’s eyes, the expression associated with them is accentuated like these (T_T) or ^^. Sometimes the parentheses disappear or are replaced by braces.

The mouth may also have different representations depending on the feeling expressed. The long dash (or underscore) can be replaced by the dash or by a point to make a more cute mouth. The apostrophe, the double apostrophe and the semicolon represent apprehension or embarrassment. When a Kaomoji is followed by 3 slashes like these ///, it shows embarrassment more like when one blushes.

Kaomoji for all !

There are all kinds of Kaomoji. They are much cuter than smileys and much more expressive. They can express feelings like love, joy, anger, sadness or embarrassment. But these Japanese-style emoticons can also represent animals like bears, cats, dogs or birds.

Here we offer some of the most representative and repairs divided into 4 major categories, each divided into 4 sub-categories: Japanese smileys representing good mood (excited / happy / love / celebration), those expressing bad moods (confuse / sick / sad / worried), those who express fairly neutral feelings and emotions of animals.

Use Kaomoji

٩(๑ơలơ)۶♡꒰˘̩̩̩⌣˘̩̩̩๑꒱♡(ෆ ͒•∘̬• ͒)◞
✿♥‿♥✿♡(㋭ ਊ ㋲)♡໒( ♥ ◡ ♥ )७
(♡´͈༝`͈)ฅ˒˒( ˭̵̵̵̵͈́◡ु͂˭̵̵̵͈̀ )ˉ̞̭♡♡ℒฺℴฺνℯฺ♡
(✿ ♥‿♥)ฅ ̳͒•ˑ̫• ̳͒ฅ♡(。・‧̫・。).**♡
(♡ˊ͈ ॢ꒳ ॢˋ͈)♪♡+* Ɗɑɫë*+♡(͒ ॢ ›⚇‹ ॢ)͒୭♡
(*°∀°)=3´͈ ᵕ `͈ ♡°◌̊(/∇\*)。o○♡
( ¯ ³¯)♡(ღ˘⌣˘)❛ั◡❛ัღ)( ′ॢ◡̶͂‵ ॢ )♡*.
₍՞◌′ᵕ‵ू◌₎♡٩(ó。ò۶ ♡)))♬(ฅ’ω’ฅ)​♥
(人´∀`*)( •ॢ◡-ॢ)-♡~(^з^)-♡

Some of my favourite emoticons


This emoticon becomes viral in an oriental online environment. Especially on the biggest Chinese social network Weibo, which is a hybrid of Twitter and Facebook. 「→_→」is an aloof “looking to the right” face. When you retweet a persons tweet, adding this emoticon in front means the tweet that you retweet is worth checking out, because this tweet is quite funny / inspiring / creative / unbelievable or shocking etc. Obviously it can mean both positive and negative, it all depends on what the tweet is about.


This is a face to say “no”.


This means there’s nothing I can do.


This means I don’t care or whatever.


A kissing face.


It represents a person bowing down on his knees and pounding his head on the floor. The O is the head, the r is the arms, and the z is the rest of the body and legs. It’s a perfect emoticon for frustration and despair.

(= ̄ω ̄=)

A cat face.


A bear face.


A teddy bear.


Multiple bears.

ԅ(¯_ ¯ԅ)

A sneaky move.


A surprised face.


In pain.


Very disappointed.


Yes, Kaomoji knows how to flip the bird too!