In "Historically yours", the chronicler of Europe 1 David Castello-Lopes looks back on the origins of emojis.
The invention of these famous symbols, which were thought to convey emotions and give intonations to messages, is to the credit of the Japanese Shigetaka Kurita.
Every day in
Every day in
, David Castello-Lopes looks back on the origins of an object or a concept of everyday life.
On Friday, he looked into the origin of emojis.
These symbols are now ubiquitous on the internet and in conversations.
The inventor of emojis, the Japanese Shigetaka Kurita, wanted to make it possible to convey intonations and emotions in writing so as to avoid confusion when speaking to his girlfriend and he started a worldwide phenomenon.
A cruel lack of intonation in writing
"It is thanks to writing that we have been able to create religions that last a super long time or that we can insult people on the Internet. But there is a problem with the written word is that it does not allow not to transmit an intonation.The basic intonation with which we imagine a sentence is pronounced when we read it, it is a neutral intonation.
>> Find the chronicles of David Castello-Lopes in replay and podcast here
If we read "Michel has slept at my place yesterday", it is with a very very neutral intonation that you will imagine the sentence.
This will convey an impression that will be eternally dry and cold.
But maybe I wanted to say "I'm sick of it" or on the contrary make a sexual innuendo.
Convey emotions in messages to his girlfriend
Fortunately today there are emojis that allow you to color the meaning of a sentence and give it the intonation of writing.
So where do emojis come from?
Who invented them?
Etymology can help you.
E (image) - Moji (Character).
It's Japanese and it has nothing to do with emotions.
And so since emojis were Japanese, I went to Japan again, to see a gentleman called Shigetaka Kurita, the inventor of emojis.
>> Find the shows of Matthieu Noël and Stéphane Bern in replay and podcast here
It was the late 90s, and Shigetaka was employed at Docomo which is the largest cell phone company in Japan.
And back then it was the start of the internet on phones.
Except that when we wanted to send messages they were limited to 250 characters.
Which is not short anyway, especially if you want to convey emotions.
Which pissed off Shigetaka, and he even told me that it led to arguments with his girlfriend.
176 emojis were created in 1999
Suddenly, he said to himself: 'But if I draw pictures, it will be infinitely easier to communicate'.
And he got down to work.
At the time, characters were displayed in squares of 12 by 12 pixels, which was 144 pixels.
And so we had to be able to make shapes just by blackening some of these squares and not others.
And that's what Shigetaka did for several weeks.
And finally, in 1999 the first 176 emojis in world history were released in Japan.
They have since entered the collection of MOMA in New York.
And today there are thousands.
And even people who were totally resistant to it got into it at least a little. "