Shigetaka Kurita

Why and How I Created Emoji

«The prototypes of emojis were born in Japan at the end of the 20th century. The man who created these images in the first place was Shigetaka Kurita, who was involved in the launch of the world’s first mobile internet platform.»


«Kurita says he thought it would be difficult to deliver enough information on feature phones due to the limited screen space without emoji.»

“Prior to our i-mode, AT&T was already offering information services for cell phone users. Everything was shown by text. Even the weather forecast was displayed as ‘fine’. When I saw it, I found it difficult to understand”, recalls Kurita. Japanese TV weather forecasts have always included pictures or symbols to describe the weather—for example, a picture of sun meant ‘sunny’. Being so familiar with this culture, Kurita thought “I’d rather see a picture of the sun, instead of a text saying ‘fine’. “

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