Japanese Smileys

Martin Brinkmann
Dec 13, 2005
Updated • Apr 30, 2013

Those crazy Japanese again. I'm not sure why I love Japanese culture that much but it probably has something to do with the fact that it is always good for a surprise (or two). I never thought they would use different smileys until I found this Japanese smileys website.

The website explains the difference between Japanese and western smileys:

"Apparently, Japanese Smileys(Emoticons) are read vertically while eastern Smileys(Emoticons) are read horizontally. And Japanese Smileys have more variation than eastern ones. I think the reason is that while American(alphabet) letters in computer are 1 byte, Japanese letters in computer are 2 bytes, so Japanese letters can have more characters."

Most look simply crazy to me, they have smileys with 15 and more letters. The translation is sometimes funny as well. (Making a promise by liking little fingers with each other < -- What the hell does that mean ?)

Here are a couple of examples:

  • ~~~ヾ(^∇^)おはよー♪ means Good Morning
  • ( ´ â–½ ` )ノ タダイマァ means I'm back
  • O(≧∇≦)O Wow / delight
  • ( ´∀`) means smiley face

If you've got some time to spare take a look and enjoy the site. Maybe you find one or two that are useful for you.

Update: A good starting point is the introduction to various Japanese emoticons that is prominently displayed on the site. You may want to start with the differences between Western and Japanese smileys first, but it gets quickly very language-centric. If you do not speak Japanese, you may quickly realize that the explanation is too difficulty to read.

Probably the best part of the page in terms of actual smileys, is the list of Japanese emoticons for roman alphabet keyboard users. You can use these smileys right away, either by copying and pasting them, or by memorizing them and using them when you see it fit.

The site has been around for quite some time, so that you can alternatively bookmark it, and get back to it whenever you are in need of some smileys from Japan (or need to look up one that your Japanese contact / friend / business partner posted).


Tutorials & Tips

Previous Post: «
Next Post: «


  1. Lily said on October 21, 2008 at 11:45 pm

    “Making a promise by liking little fingers with each other < — What the hell does that mean ?”

    You know, like pinky promises? Didn’t you ever do those when you were a kid? It’s like a promise that you can’t break ( at least that’s what it means to little kids (^.^).)

  2. John said on February 17, 2006 at 4:32 am

    Here is another page explaining Asian Smileys: http://www.todayinchina.com/?p=74

    The difference with Western Smileys is quite amazing, the Asian Smileys are so explicit!


Leave a Reply

Check the box to consent to your data being stored in line with the guidelines set out in our privacy policy

We love comments and welcome thoughtful and civilized discussion. Rudeness and personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please stay on-topic.
Please note that your comment may not appear immediately after you post it.