What Do These 16 Japanese Emojis Actually Mean
Originally created in Japan, emojis were used there to save texting space. Now, as the whole world has adopted them, a large bunch of these icons is still related to their origin. And interestingly, many of us might use Japanese emojis daily, totally misinterpreting their original meaning.
Bright Side has picked glyphs that have the most curious stories behind them. Let’s discover their meanings together!
These are not just random letters that get their own icons, but blood types. In Japan and South Korea, people believe that one’s personality and relationships with others depend on their blood type. Even though there is no scientific evidence that backs up this theory, it still remains an important part of the culture.
There is a belief, that the first dream during the night of January 1st is the most important, and if one sees Mount Fuji, followed by a hawk, and an eggplant, luck will follow them during the upcoming year. Thus, eggplant turned out to be a happy vegetable and its emoji is used to indicate good fortune.
This is not just an icon of a delicious dessert, but a miniature of a bowl of shaved ice. It’s a popular Japanese treat that is often flavored with syrup or with sweetened condensed milk. It is especially popular during hot summer days, and various shops even go the extra mile to create unique flavors making their shaved ice one of a kind.
This symbol might be confused for a blue flower or a diamond, but in Japan, it is typically applied in a different context. It simply means “cute” and this glyph got extremely popular as sweet and adorable things have become part of the country’s culture.
This emoji might look like a cookie at first, but in reality, it represents a popular Japanese treat — senbei. It’s a rice cracker, brushed with soy sauce for flavor, and grilled over charcoal. Its bottom is wrapped in a tiny piece of seaweed to make it easier to hold the cookie.
A symbol of a woman with crossed hands is typically used to indicate an incorrect answer or “no.” The exact opposite of this glyph is a woman with her arms above her head. It symbolizes a ball mark, which is used to indicate a correct answer, similar to a checkmark in Western culture. For example, when Japanese teachers check the tests of their students, they will circle the right answers, and mark the wrong ones with a red cross.
Around the world, this symbol is used to show one’s support or approval, and to motivate others to keep up the good work. In Japan, an underlined 100 written in red is mostly used while grading exams by teachers, to show that their students did extremely well. Now, when someone wants to express their pride, they use this glyph.
Because of the tiny size of this icon, it’s often confused for the Eiffel Tower. This one is used to represent the second-tallest building in Japan, the Tokyo Tower, which was inspired by the famous building in France.
Some might use this emoji to indicate a house or just a building. However, this one is the symbol for a Japanese post office. The red sign on it represents a Japanese postal mark.
This emoji represents a moon-viewing ceremony — a festival held in Japan to honor the autumn moon. Glutinous rice dumplings and Japanese pampas grass are the typical things you see at this celebration.
This one should not be confused with a cherry blossom glyph. Originally, this symbol comes from schools, where teachers use it as a stamp to mark their student’s work to show them that they did extremely well. Once it got turned into an emoji, people send it on special occasions like Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day to show love and happiness.
Because of an old legend, the night of July 7th is considered to be the most romantic night of the year. During this time an event called the Star Festival takes place. Its popular symbol is a bamboo tree that is decorated with paper streamers in different colors where people write their wishes. This emoji was created to represent the festival.
Some might feel confused by this one, thinking it’s a fire or a steamy hot soup emoji. But actually, this glyph represents onsens — the hot springs Japan is famous for. This symbol is even used on Google maps to show the location of these resorts.
This icon doesn’t just show 2 crossed flags, but it indicates legal holidays in Japan. It can be used in combination with other emojis, to specify the upcoming event. For example, crossed flags in combination with a clover emoji will mean the celebration of Japan’s Greenery Day.
The glyph of 3 bamboo shoots with a ribbon represents a decoration made of pine and bamboo. During the New Year period, this is placed outside homes to welcome the ancestral spirits and to ensure that the upcoming year will be prosperous and plentiful.
In Western culture, this icon is typically used by someone who is tired or who wants to show that they are deep in their thoughts. Japanese people use it to express their apologies and to ask for forgiveness, and this emoji represents bowing.
Have you ever used any of these emojis while texting?