Emoji are leaving adolescence and moving beyond tween texting conversations, kitschy throw pillows, and pool floats and are finally being recognized as cultural icons.
While emoji have been used in Japan for decades, they rose to popularity in the US in 2010 when they were introduced on the iPhone. Emoji have a rich and utilitarian heritage in Japan that most of us may miss. Wired explains, “Ever wonder why you have so many phases of the moon, or varieties of precipitation on your emoji keyboard? DoCoMo, Japan’s main mobile carrier, originally used emoji to deliver weather reports to its pager users.”
MOMA says this is just the beginning of their digital design collection.