Japanese Emoticons

24 Oct

Ψ(`∇´)Ψ ヽ(´―`)ノ (*´д`*)  (´・ェ・`)  ヽ(;´Д`)ノ

What are those extremely cute smileys?!
Japanese emoticons are called Kaomoji 【顔文字【かおもじ】】 (face characters) or Emoji 【絵文字【えもじ】】 (picture characters). My first encounter with them was probably when I started playing Final Fantasy XI in 2002. At that time, the NA version hasn’t been released yet and the servers consisted of mainly Japanese players. While they were conversing, they used these very cute and expressive emoticons that I’ve never seen before. Then, I saw a fellow non-Japanese using it as well and I asked him what are these called. Kaomoji he replied, and told me I’d be able to find instructions on how to get them on a FFXI forum that we non-Japanese frequented. I went on the forum and browsed through the threads, sure enough, I came across one that taught users how to install Japanese emoticons for use in the game! This is what I am sharing in this post, how to use Japanese emoticons on your own english based PC.


What’s the difference between English and Japanese emoticons?
The difference between English emoticons and the Japanese variation is that the former is created to be read sideways :) and the latter is created to be read horizontally like regular text (´・ω・`). Apart from that, Japanese emoticons have more symbols in them that can better express emotions and also make them look alot cuter. How this is possible is that the Japanese character code uses double-bytes. What that means is that their character code has more symbols than ours, and with those extra symbols they have gone all creative and created emoticons that are more complex, expressive, and horizontally readable. Oh, did I mention that they’re cuter? And if you think you are up to it, you can create your own as well, with this Reference mark page. Just type the appropriate Japanese characters and the symbols will appear and you can then piece together your own personal double-byte emoticon!


Where you may see Japanese emoticons.
On 2ch, a Japanese Internet forum that is also one of the world’s largest. You’ll be able to see many different kaomojis used on the forum. Apart from kaomojis, the users of the forum has taken emoticon creation to the next level and developed many Shift JIS art. One of their popular creation is Monā (モナー). A cat created from Shift JIS characters. Other than 2ch, if you’ve been surfing Japanese websites, you may see many kaomojis used as well.


Japanese emoticons in Popular Culture.
If you’ve seen Densha Otoko, you may remember that whenever the male protagonist made progress in his relationship, there would be massive celebration amongst the 2ch users and extravagant Shift JIS art could be seen. One of them that I can remember is a train created entirely out of Shift JIS characters.


The guide
Note that to make use of this guide, you should already be able to type in Japanese using Microsoft’s IME software. If you cannot and do not know how to and if there’s enough demand, I may write up a post on how to do that.


01. Firstly, visit Emojio to obtain a copy of the text file to be imported. Scroll down to the latest version (in our case, it’s 2.3.4) , look for “Windows用“, then look for the the button(in pink in this image) next to “圧縮なし” (I’ve circled it in red) and right click and select “Save Link As…” if you’re using Firefox or “Save Target As…” if you’re using Internet Explorer.

Japanese Emoticons


02. Locate this on the bottom right corner of your screen and click on ‘EN’.

Japanese Emoticons


03. Select “Show the Language Bar”.

Japanese Emoticons


04. This should then be hovering somewhere on your desktop.

Japanese Emoticons


05. Click on ‘English’, a pull-down menu should appear, select ‘Japanese’.

Japanese Emoticons


06. The language bar should expand to this.

Japanese Emoticons


07. Click on ‘Tools’ and select “Dictionary Tool”.

Japanese Emoticons


08. A window that looks like this should appear. As you can see, it’s pretty empty for now.

Japanese Emoticons


09. Click on ‘Tool’ and select “Import Text file…”.

Japanese Emoticons


10. Locate the text file you saved earlier on and click on ‘Open’. The import process should begin.

Japanese Emoticons


11. There may be some emoticons that are way too long, those will fail the import, you can safely ignore the failed count. 20,000+ emoticons should be sufficient for your daily use. Click on the ‘Exit’ button.

Japanese Emoticons


12. You will then see a list of the successfully imported emoticons. You can safely close this window.

Japanese Emoticons


13. Let us try and make sure we can really use the imported emoticons. Leave a reply on this post, on the message box, switch to Japanese input as you usually would, type in ‘ase’ without the quotes. It should look like this.

Japanese Emoticons


14. While the characters are still underlined, press the spacebar to scroll till you find something cute, then press the ‘Enter’ key on your keyboard.

Japanese Emoticons


15. There you have it, a made in Japan emoticon of your own. (ase means perspiration in Japanese, that’s what the emoticon is trying to say if you didn’t get it.)

Japanese Emoticons


To know which words have emoticons associated with them, you can browse the text file and you should get a good idea. Some examples of words with kaomojis are kanashii, ureshii, ase, warau, unchi, and urusai. If you’re interested in the dictionary file that I used for FFXI, it’s available on this kaomoji page. You can even import both and you’ll have an even longer list of kaomojis to use. Finally, instead of going through all the above, the other way to use Japanese emoticons is to copy and paste from the text file you saved.


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Leave a Reply


  1. itsumo natsu

    Wednesday, 24 October, 2007 at 10:01

    \(^O^)/!\(^O^)/!\(^O^)/! -> Banzai!
    ゝ( ゚∀゚)メ(゚∀゚ )ノ アヒャヒャヒャ
    Thanks a lot for this guide. It’s really useful and easy to understand and yes they are a whole lot cuter! (* ^ー゚)

  2. Hoiman

    Thursday, 25 October, 2007 at 00:33

    Thanks for the guide!! They’re really cute

  3. mervyn

    Thursday, 25 October, 2007 at 12:59

    You’re welcome. I hope it’s easy enough to follow through.

  4. Soshi

    Thursday, 1 November, 2007 at 00:38

    (;゚д゚)ァ….  ホント o(゚Д゚)っ!だよ!
    ” °・:,。★\( ´_ゝ`)♪ありがとう♪(´ι _` )/★,。・:・° “な~

    Thanks a lot! :) I love the fact that it’s intuitive in the sense that it has corresponding emojis for different Japanese words! :D

  5. Satoshi

    Wednesday, 28 January, 2009 at 01:12

    awesome tutorial, but i was wondering if you know how to input Kaomoji for Macs?

    if not, its ok..

  6. lolipop

    Wednesday, 11 March, 2009 at 20:58

    i can’t get it…i have right click at look over and save as…but it become a notepad after it saved in my computer…and there is nothing same as the below step…please help me..

  7. mervyn

    Wednesday, 11 March, 2009 at 22:07

    Satoshi, as shown in the image, for macs if you have ATOK or ことえり, you can use the files made for those input methods.

    lolipop, it’s normal for the file’s icon to be displayed as a notepad as notepad on your pc is probably the default application for opening text files. If you do not see the EN in step 2, means you probably don’t have “East Asian” languages installed in your Windows.

  8. puchiko01

    Tuesday, 8 June, 2010 at 11:30

    it only opens as in notepad…. the step 2 doesn’t show too! help! i have windows 7….

  9. mervyn

    Tuesday, 8 June, 2010 at 12:13

    Of course it’ll look different. That was XP :) Things have changed. I’ll need a copy of Windows 7 to find out what changed and if this can still work.

  10. mervyn

    Thursday, 29 July, 2010 at 09:44

    Pwnboxer: So far so good. I’ve been spending more time in the character customization than actually testing the game itself. I’m able to play but only in the windowed mode. Looks like I’ll need a more powerful machine if I’m going to be playing the game. Thanks for reading!

  11. Rabbit~

    Friday, 6 August, 2010 at 05:25

    ・ ∪´∀`)モキュ thank you so much for this! <3

  12. Da-chan

    Tuesday, 14 September, 2010 at 03:59

    Σ(・ε・;) Thanks so much for this.

  13. Asato-kun

    Thursday, 16 December, 2010 at 17:24

    Thank you so much for the article!! this help to solve my curiosity (σ ̄ー ̄)σニヤリゲッツ

  14. aya

    Wednesday, 22 December, 2010 at 15:01

    There’s now a rubber stamp so you can create Japanese style emoticons

  15. ヒロインステラ

    Monday, 14 February, 2011 at 01:54

    d(゚Д゚)☆スペシャルサンクス☆( ゚Д゚)b !!!
    本当に!! ぜんぶで絵文字は (・∀・)チゴイネ! だ!!
    (TдT) アリガトウ!!
    ( ● ` ー ´ ● ) でっちありがとう”(  ゚,_ゝ゚)バカジャネーノ”

    as you can see, i’m really having fun with them! *phew* really, i was wondering how on earth people did those!! =)

  16. Praptolium

    Wednesday, 9 March, 2011 at 15:47

    ( ;´・ω・`)人(´・ω・`; )
    ||ヽ(*゚▽゚*)ノミ|Ю タダイマァ♪
    ” °・:,。★\( ´_ゝ`)♪ありがとう♪(´ι _` )/★,。・:・° ”
    thankyouuu :)
    this is great ^_^

  17. msbearlover

    Saturday, 30 April, 2011 at 21:20


    ( ̄ー+ ̄)キラリ :D

  18. Shizuka

    Saturday, 11 June, 2011 at 09:52

    I cant import that text file T.T It warns that \Special file could not be recognized\

  19. Shizuka

    Saturday, 11 June, 2011 at 10:00

    (*´∀`)つ・ Yeah! I can usse it now >w<

  20. Panda Zai

    Sunday, 3 July, 2011 at 22:48

    Thx for the guild (;・∀・)

  21. tenshin

    Monday, 11 July, 2011 at 19:40

    ( ゚д゚)ドカンー!!!!
    ” ゚☆,。・:*:・゚★o(´▽`*)/♪Thanks♪\(*´▽`)o゚★,。・:*:・☆゚ ”

  22. svenBit

    Saturday, 17 September, 2011 at 15:29

    it’s working...” ゚☆,。・:*:・゚★o(´▽`*)/♪Thanks♪\(*´▽`)o゚★,。・:*:・☆゚ “

  23. さん

    Wednesday, 12 October, 2011 at 06:00

    I did everything it said, but it doesn’t work. I was importing correctly, but all of the files failed. Help? [If it helps, I have Windows 7].

  24. mervyn

    Tuesday, 18 October, 2011 at 17:35

    Would you mind providing a screenshot? If you’ve ever imported it before and you try and import it again, ‘No. of entries” will be 0 and errors would be 21229. Save the Error log and email it to me please. I just tried this on my Windows 7 and the steps are still good.

  25. inazuma dunk shoot» Blog Archive » dunk shoot: tuesday bullets

    Tuesday, 8 November, 2011 at 18:38

    […] emoji is a lot of fun オセェヨ( ゚д゚)、ペッ though I’m probably doing […]

  26. Misaki

    Saturday, 19 November, 2011 at 23:00

    Thank you very much!~

  27. Aurey

    Wednesday, 23 November, 2011 at 13:06

    I just tried it on my windows 7, the emoticons load properly up to step 12 but I’m still unable to use them, shed some light on this?

  28. mervyn

    Wednesday, 23 November, 2011 at 20:11

    Hi Aurey,

    When you type あせ, while it’s still underlined, hit space twice or even thrice. Does a list popup for you to select?

  29. Aurey

    Friday, 25 November, 2011 at 02:49

    Hey Mervyn,

    Yeah, of course it does as usual but none of the emoji are on any of the supposed words. I tried a few just to make sure. Funny thing is when I reopen the dictionary, none of what was there before is there anymore, reloading the text file just shows every entry as an error which theoretically means they’ve all been added. It’s very confounding.

  30. Aurey

    Friday, 25 November, 2011 at 18:27

    I fixed it! After a lot of playing around with the dictionary settings under properties, I managed to fix it. Screwed it up badly at first though and accidentally removed the standard kanji dictionary. やばいぞそれ。でも直ったよかったですなぁ~ (;´Д`)

  31. Kuwabara Rin

    Wednesday, 14 December, 2011 at 08:13

    i’ve a problem when importing file
    it’s said something like “specified file could not be recognized”
    what should i do!?

  32. Dooo

    Tuesday, 27 December, 2011 at 03:22



    Thursday, 5 January, 2012 at 22:21

    どもありがとございました!I will use this when I get home! I can’t wait to use it ヾ(´▽`;)ゝ

  34. 123

    Sunday, 15 January, 2012 at 01:34


  35. 123

    Sunday, 15 January, 2012 at 01:40

    (^×^ )..

  36. Cherley

    Friday, 20 January, 2012 at 20:24

    I tried to import the text file and i got an error message like this “The specific file is not in a reorganized format”. What should I do? Please advice. TwT

  37. xxpockylover55610xx

    Sunday, 29 January, 2012 at 22:04

    ありがとう、これは大きな支援でした。 thank you think was a big help  ( ゚ 3゚)≡@ ペッ!! 

  38. xxpockylover55610xx

    Monday, 30 January, 2012 at 00:12

    I only have 2000 emoticons why do you have 20,000?

  39. mervyn

    Monday, 30 January, 2012 at 16:06

    The file that I downloaded from step 1 has 20,000+ lines.

  40. Akuma

    Thursday, 29 March, 2012 at 20:38


    its so cooooolll ~

  41. Aeris

    Wednesday, 11 April, 2012 at 16:01

    ありがと!! (;´∀`)・・・うわぁ・・・

  42. prince noctisu

    Thursday, 12 April, 2012 at 10:06

    my language bar won’t show T A T

  43. ゆり

    Wednesday, 25 April, 2012 at 10:50



  44. jp

    Sunday, 20 May, 2012 at 20:29

    (´ヘ`;) thanks :)

  45. CloudS

    Wednesday, 8 August, 2012 at 22:52

    thank you so much XD XD XD XD XD XD XD. I was so confused about how to type emoticons and now i got it.
    Thank you so much XD XD XD XD XD XD

  46. Unagi Ootoro

    Thursday, 9 August, 2012 at 10:20

    ( ゚д゚)ビンゴー
    Ⅰ can finally do it~ Yay! This is so much easier, I don’t have to go on Google everytime I need kaomoji~

  47. Ion

    Saturday, 18 August, 2012 at 04:30

    Thanks for the help, now to make sure I don’t spam my friends with these (;・∀・) …

  48. Andi

    Tuesday, 28 August, 2012 at 19:16

    Thanks for guide (=゚ω゚)ノ (σ ̄ー ̄)σニヤリゲッツ

  49. Liinah

    Monday, 5 November, 2012 at 09:30

    IT WORKS (||●∀●)
    ! Thanks a lot <3

  50. Blargel

    Thursday, 22 November, 2012 at 11:37

    Import fails for me. ヽ(´Д`;)ノ