What with being the country that came up with the word “emoji” and all (which, by the way, has nothing to do with “emotion”), it’s no surprise that Japan remains among the most enthusiastic users of the expressive mini illustrations. So with World Emoji Day falling on July 17, Twitter Japan took a moment to look at the 10 most frequently used emoji by Japanese users of the social media platform.
But the popularity of emoji has spread around the globe, and so Twitter Japan also compiled a list of the top 10 emoji for Twitter users worldwide, and it turns out there’s not all that much overlap, with only three emoji that appear on both lists.
First, let’s take a look at the worldwide top 10 (above).
Sitting at the top of the list is a pair of cherries, perhaps due to the glamour-focused “Cherry Emoji Twitter” demographic of Twitter users in the West. Next up is a sparky star, and sitting in third is a flower, which, incidentally, looks an awful lot like a sakura, or Japanese cherry blossom.
Moving on to Japan’s favorite emoji, though, things are quite different.
Japanese Twitter’s top emoji is the “laughing so hard I’m crying face,” which might seem like an unusual choice for a society that’s traditionally considered stoicism a virtue. However, a mixture of laughter and tears, or, by extension, a smile while being emotionally moved to tears, has been a pretty common feature of anime and manga artwork for decades, which might explain why Japanese Twitter users are s much more likely than their overseas counterparts to feel it’s the perfect visual expression of their mood at the moment.
As a matter of fact, current emotion is a common theme in the Japanese list. Number 2, the peace or victory symbol, gets flashed in Japan to represent success or happiness, and can also be sent as a warmhearted way to say “Congratulations!” or “Way to go!” Number 4, the fist, gets used less often for implied violence than it does to simulate a hand clenched tight in determination, to show it’s time for the sender or the receiver to buckle down and do their best, which also applies to Number 8, the raging fire, which is connected to the Japanese word moeru, literally “burning,” which can also carry the meaning of “fired up.” Then there’s Number 9, the crying emoji, which is a handy one in Japan since the societal concepts of gratitude and regret at causing trouble by making someone help or accommodate you are strongly connected, which makes a crying face a common add-on to messages of thanks in Japan.
As for the three overlapping top 10s, the shining star is the closest, at Number 2 for the world and Number 3 for Japan (though the global list gets a shooting star at Number 8 too). There’s a bigger gap for the laugh/cry face (Number 1 in Japan, Number 6 globally), and surprisingly the cherry blossom, despite finishing in third on the global list, just barely made it into Japan’s at Number 10, though maybe it’s ranking this year took a hit because of the alternate sakura emoji Japan got.
Source: Twitter via Livedoor News/MdN Design via Jin
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