Emoji Timeline

1999

Shigetaka Kuritas 176 emojis

Shigetaka Kurita creates 176 emojis for the release of the Japanese mobile phone operator NTT DoCoMo’s integrated mobile internet service “i-mode”, debuting in February of 1999. The service only allowed for 250 characters which gave Kurita the challenge to figure out a way to communicate in an expressive but short way. Even though the emoji set isn’t the first, it is the first to get widespread use and ultimately make emoji a worldwide phenomenon.

The Original First Emojis
Courtesy: Shigetaka Kurita/NTT DoCoMo