Why use Japanese emoticons?


Do you use emoji, decomail, etc in mobile phone email? graph of japanese statisticsHere’s an interesting survey from iShare that answers the questions that many westerners ask when they see the average Japanese mobile phone email littered with kaomoji smilies and decomail animations, simply “Why?”


Over the 28th and 29th of January 2009 668 users of the CLUB BBQ free email forwarding service completed a private internet-based questionnaire. 55.1% of the sample were male, 12.6% in their twenties, 46.1% in their thirties, 33.4% in their forties, 6.7% in their fifties, and 1.2% in their teens or sixty or older.

Just in case you missed last night’s post, you can find about 8,000 (and growing) kaomoji facemarks at evoticon. Other technical terms included in this post are emoji, simple icons, and decomail, HTML templated mail, including DIY text animation.

Research results

Q1: Do you use emoji, decomail, etc in mobile phone email? (Sample size=668)

Always (to SQs)16.9%10.6%24.7%
Sometimes (to SQs)48.2%48.4%48.0%
Don’t use mobile phone email6.6%7.3%5.7%

Q1SQ1: Why do you use emoji, decomail, etc in mobile phone email? (Sample size=435, multiple answer)

Because I can effectively convey my feelings57.9%56.7%59.2%
Because it softens expressions56.6%56.7%56.4%
Because I can express nuances that are difficult to put into words49.2%43.8%54.6%
Because it looks cute35.4%25.3%45.4%
Because I want to make the receiver happy22.3%24.4%20.2%
Because I enjoy it19.1%18.4%19.7%
Because everyone uses them5.3%6.5%4.1%
Because I want people to think I have good sense4.1%5.1%3.2%
Because I’m not good with words3.2%4.6%1.8%

Q1SQ2: Which of the following types of decoration do you often use? (Sample size=435, multiple answer)

Emoji (icons)81.6%78.3%84.9%
Kaomoji (smilies)76.3%77.4%75.2%
Photo attachments14.0%8.3%19.7%
Decomail with illustrations, templates, etc13.1%9.2%17.0%
Handwriting-style font0.9%0.5%1.4%

Q1SQ3: Which of the following types of decoration are you most happy to receive? (Sample size=435)

Emoji (icons)43.9%44.2%43.6%
Kaomoji (smilies)19.5%22.6%16.5%
Photo attachments16.6%16.1%17.0%
Decomail with illustrations, templates, etc12.6%9.7%15.6%
Picture the sender has drawn him/herself3.0%2.3%3.7%
Handwritten letter2.5%3,2%1.8%
Handwriting-style font1.6%1.4%1.8%

I’m not sure what a handwritten letter is doing in this list as it is talking about email specifically. Perhaps they mean a photograph of a message?

Q1SQ4: Which of the following types of decoration mail services would you like to try out? (Sample size=435, multiple answer)

Decomail resources download service31.7%26.3%37.2%
Original emoji creation service29.0%23.5%34.4%
Handwritten letter exchange service19.8%18.4%21.1%
Conversion to handwriting-style font service19.3%17.1%21.6%
Add text or illustrations to mobile phone photographs service17.0%16.1%17.9%
Purikura photobooth mobile phone forwarding service9.2%8.8%9.6%
Real-time handwritten chat service7.6%7.4%7.8%

Note that some of the services mentioned in the above question do exist for one or more provider.

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1 Comment »

  1. RMilner said,
    February 11, 2009 @ 06:01

    Japanese emoticons are too complicated. It’s bad enough trying to keep up with western emoticons.

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