MoMA R&D

Shigetaka Kurita

Shigetaka Kurita is an artist and designer who created the first emoji in 1999 for the Japanese telecom giant NTT DoCoMo. While the system offered emails, they were restricted to 250 characters, so emoji were a way to say more in a limited space. While emoji were immediately copied by other Japanese telecoms companies, the symbols were not standardized, meaning they could not be used across different networks. Additionally, they stayed fairly limited to Japan until 2010 when they were incorporated into Unicode, the standard that governs the software coding of text. That year, 722 emoji were released on both iPhone and Android. In 2016, the Museum of Modern Art in New York acquired 176 miniature drawings of faces, objects, and abstract places, etc.

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