GMail supports Emoji for Japanese Cellphone

Official Google Blog (Japanese) announced [J] that their gmail on PC now became capable to send Emoji, emoticon-like letters supported by Japanese cellphones. (receiving emoji-mail from cellphone has been supported already.)
Even in English mode of gmail, your “Rich formatting” mode has a new set of emoji selector.

I sent a mail with emoji-s from my gmail to cellphone. Most emoji are shown properly, though few letters are not. Maybe because emoji sets have few incompatibility among 3 carriers (NTT Docomo, KDDI au and Softbank Mobile).

When the recipient have Japanese cellphone, Google server converts them into emoji character codes. On regular mail client including gmail, the mail with emoji seems to be sent as a HTML mail with images.
It is explained that this new feature was lead by Google Tokyo team but worked globally.
[Update] The official English Gmail Blog followed to announce. Interestingly, there are no mention that the idea was from Google Japan (as Google Japan team claimed [J]), nor it was for Japanese mobile users. So it is explained “to help you communicate” for the rest of non-emoji world.


  1. GSM phones has its own mobile mail address, therefore, these type of web2phone service is very activated by telco carrier and web players.
    In case of SMS or MMS Service in Korea,
    SK telecom supports automatic emoticon attaching service depending on the meaning of the words in messages.
    Both offers similar service but implemented on different device and platform.

  2. Thanks for the info Sabrina.
    SMS is difficult to understand in Japan. I know that they are widely used around the world, but in Japan, all cellphone are capable with regular internet mail, and that is supported by fixed rate packet plan. There are SMS functionality on phones but it is legacy feature, used rarely.
    To attract users who use both PC and mobile, even PC sites need to accommodate mobile-specific features like emoji.

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