Demystifying Japanese Cellphone Slang – Kaomoji, Emoji and Decomail

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Demystifying Japanese Cellphone Slang – Kaomoji, Emoji and Decomail

It’s hard enough trying to keep up with the latest English terminology and slang surrounding the use of mobes, the UK’s favorite very dirty term for mobile phones (mobe is short for mobile phones), but with the Japanese keitai terms (this is Japanese slang for cellphone) that now appears in the English language, we old fogeys can sometimes find it difficult to know what it is all about. This article will try to explain two common phrases and one not so common phrase that seem to be doing the rounds of the SNS generation.

Kaomoji

Literally, that is face letters, but it is also often called Japanese emoticons. These don’t just take alphabetic characters, but the full range of symbolic characters, Japanese, Greek, Russian kanji characters, dingbats and anything else you can find to make assorted horizontal faces. The classic cat smiley =^.^= is a simple example, but searching the internet for a term like “kaomoji dictionary” will reveal hundreds, if not thousands, of kaomoji to represent almost any emotion or situation you could ever think of . , and a good number that you could not!

I find it interesting that there are many, many articles out there about how western smilies came to be :-), but very little has been done to reveal the history of the Japanese kaomoji. As far as I can determine, it was a Korean person in Japan in early 1986 who proposed the (^_^) smiley, and a Japanese nuclear scientist who came up with (~_~) at the same time.

Emoji

Step up the evolutionary ladder and we get to emojis, literally press letters. These were first popularized on Japanese cell phones, displaying a small icon in place of characters in an email. Now almost all phones support a full range of more than a hundred of these icons, and they are an indispensable feature for most users in Japan, as even if people do not type them, the probability is that the contacts send full e-mail. of them! They also infect Japanese blogs, and for many people they replace punctuation in their text. Some of the mobile service providers have also animated the glyphs, which brings us to the final term.

Decomail

Decomail is actually derived from English, being the abbreviation of decoration mail. Decorated mail would be more grammatically correct, but the official full name is really decorative. This should be familiar to many readers, as it is just an HTML-based email marketing name on a mobile phone, which allows simple text decoration through features such as scrolling banners, embedded images, aligned text and selection of color A major demonstration of decomail is the use of what is effectively animated emoji, which allows you to insert small animations into e-mails, with some phones coming preloaded with animations that number in the thousands! However, these images are not only limited to small animated emojis (kaoani – animated faces – are a manifestation, and another term to talk about at a later date) but it can also be bigger and it can also be Flash with simple scripting.

As mentioned at the beginning of this section, decomail is HTML mail, so yes, you can send foreign friends these messages directly from your Japanese phone! You can still receive it sometimes, but as the size and other limitations in a mobile phone are quite severe, there is less of a guarantee that it really works.

So, I hope that gives you a taste of how the Japanese spice up their mobile email. I don’t have space to mention that Google’s Gmail can display emoji, nor that Apple and Google are trying to standardize emoji in Unicode, nor even 2ch emoticons, but I hope that now you know the definition of kaomoji, emoji and decomail you feel . them in conversation.

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