Wednesday, July 6

The cultural meaning behind these popular emojis


Hello, readers!

In the modern digital age, emojis have become a universally understood language.

But some of your favorite icons may not be exactly what you think.

Emojis were first created in 1999 by Japanese artist Shigetaka Kurita, according to Wired Magazine. Kurita worked for an early internet platform through one of Japan’s premiere phone carriers. His original 176 emojis then appeared on phones across the country.

Since the late ’90s, emojis have skyrocketed in popularity beyond Japan’s borders. In 2011, Apple introduced its official emoji keyboard, and two years later, Android did the same. Since then, Apple and other carriers’ emoji libraries are often updated to better represent and reflect the general population.

My name is Amy Nakamura, and I am an audience editor for USA TODAY’s Politics and Washington team, and you’re reading “This is America,” a newsletter about race, identity, and how they shape our lives.

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