Language and Culture

Japanese Emoticon: Kaomoji


There are a lot of ways to tell others how you feel and enhance the communication around us, but one of the methods for doing this is the use of Kaomoji. By just granting your phone access to Kaomoj, the relationship with your friends and family will start to make all the difference ╰(▔∀▔)╯.

                             What is Kaomoji?
∧_∧::     ̄∨ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄
/⌒  ⌒)::
/ へ__/ /::
| `-イ::
/ y  )::
// /::

For those of you who may not be familiar, Kaomoji is kind of emoticon that originated in Japan, normally used to express your face expression when texting. So it is comprised of a whole bunch of characters, letters and punctuations, for example, (ノ°益°)ノ includes Japanese and Chinese characters, and some punctuation. The use of Kaomoji should be restricted to casual communication of course, you don’t use them with your boss nor professorヽ(`⌒´メ)ノ.

Difference between Western Emoticon

We are different from Western ones
 ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄∨ ̄
‌                 ╭━━━━━━╮
┃  ’ω’     ┃
┃      ┃
┃┃   ┃ ┃
┃┃   ┃ ┃
┃┃   ┃ ┃
╰┫   ╰┳╯
┃ ┃  ┃
┃ ┃  ┃
┃ ┃  ┃
╭┛╭┛   ┃

The difference between emoticons and Kaomoji is the variation of its use, owing to western countries’ restriction of the keyboard to Roman letters and simple punctuation. Also Japanese people like doing “Kawaii” stuff ( ̄▽ ̄*)ゞ.

Truth; Kaomoji will change the relationships around you.

Thanks to current mobile technologies such as Facebook messenger and WeChat, we can be in contact with people around us with very little effort. But all too often, on the other hand, those platforms are making people miscommunicate with each other, and the receiver’s interpretation might be significantly different from what you actually wanted to say. It is obvious that, at any given time, for one to succeed in communication one should grab any opportunities with both hands ヾ(・ω・`)ノヾ(´・ω・)ノ゛.

It will enhance your communication

(V) ∧_∧ (V) (V) ∧_∧ (V) (V) ∧_∧ (V)        /
ヽ(・ω・)ノ    ヽ(・ω・)ノ    ヽ(・ω・)ノ          We will enhance your relationship
/   /             /   /             /   /            \
ノ ̄ゝ        ノ ̄ゝ        ノ ̄ゝ

What makes Kaomoji so effective? I would say it is because you can feel a sense of affinity by imagining the sender’s face. No matter how our methods of communication change, it is true that the best fundamental method of communication is still the face to face conversation and nothing can be more effective than that.

Let’s say, you are the receiver of the message from your friend and he or she wants to say “thank you” for the invitation from you.

Ex.1 “Thanks for inviting me.”

I would just type, “No worries” or “You are welcome” and give them a thumbs up as a response and put the phone in my pocket. But if I was to say the same thing in a different way;

Ex.2 “Thanks for inviting me. It was so much fun (o^▽^o)”

Don’t you feel like you want to invite them next time?

You’ve got to admit at this point that you are seeing the huge difference between them.


Let me give you more examples.

‌ ∧∧ ∩
(´∀`)/  Here are examples!
⊂  ノ
(つ ノ

∧∧ ∩
(´∀`)/  Here are…
⊂    ノ
(つ ノ

    ∧∧ ∩
_| つ/ヽー、_
/ ヽ_(____/


G’day mate! → G’day mate (*・ω・)ノ
What are you up to? → What are you up to? ヽ(・∀・)ノ
Don’t ask me! → Don’t ask me ┐(´д`)┌
Don’t worry about it! → Don’t worry about it(ノ_;)ヾ(´∀`)
Sorry about that! → Sorry about that ( ╥ω╥ )

Clearly these examples are how you feel when you receive a message with Kaomoji and the beauty of the Kaomoji itself. You can feel closer to others.

The fantasy of Kaomoji is not only about its “cute” appearance, but merely a piece of iconography used to show your facial expression. As Japanese people say, “the eyes are as eloquent as the mouth” – which means people are able to predict and pick up on what you actually think by taking a glance at your face. Therefore, the use of Kaomoji will make you feel as though you are in a face-to-face conversation. Since you are invisible to them while texting, instead of just using 🙂 or “haha”, why not take an extra few seconds to convey exactly what you want to say?

If you are looking for further information, here is a website providing a whole range of Kaomoji categorized by face expressions.

Kaomoji: Japanese Emoticons

How to add them to your phone?

( ⌒)  ∩__
/ ,ノ   i E)
/ /    / /””
/ /_、_ /ノ
`/ /,_ノ`)//
(   /
ヽ  |   I wanna get them!!
\   \

Depending on what kind of phone you use, it might be different to add them on your Phone. Therefore, sorry to say for those who are using Android, but I would only like to introduce the way I added them into my iPhone.

  1. Get Kaomoji on the internet and copy one of them that you want to add onto your phone on the browser.

Choose kaomojis that you like on the Internet.

  1. Open up “settings” (general), then select “shortcuts” inside of “Keyboard”

Open up “settings”

Select “shortcuts” inside of “Keyboard”

  1. This is how it looks when you find your library of Kaomoji. Whenever you want to add a new Kaomoji to the library, you press the plus sign on the top right.

This is how it looks when you find your library of Kaomoji.

  1. Place what you have selected into the “phrase” and then enter a shortcut. In this case, I am going to put “insult”. Whenever you type the shortcut, it will let you choose the Kaomoji.

Place what you have selected into the “phrase” and then enter a shortcut.

  1. Press save and you’re done! Now your Kaomoji is in your dictionary and you can use it anytime you want to chat with your friends.

Press save and you’re done!

For further information, please click on the sites listed below.

How to add kaomojis to your dictionary on iOS
How to use Kaomoji in Android phone


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