Face with Tears of Joy emoji

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Appearance in JoyPixels version 2.2

Face with Tears of Joy (😂) is an emoji featuring a jovial face laughing, while also crying out tears. It can also be used for joking and teasing. It is the most commonly used emoji on social media websites such as Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter and Instagram. The emoji is also variously known as the lol emoji, joy emoji, laughing emoji, cry-laugh emoji or the laughing crying emoji.

Development and usage history[edit]

The creation and early development of emojis dates back to the late 1990s in Japan. Although an earlier set of emoji had appeared on the J-Phone in 1997, with limited adoption due to high prices,[1] the first popular emoji set is attributed to Japanese telecommunications planner and NTT DoCoMo employee Shigetaka Kurita in 1999, who sketched illustrations after coming up with the idea of adding simple images to NTT DoCoMo's texting feature.[2][3] He drew inspiration from Japanese manga where characters are often drawn with symbolic representations called manpu (such as a water drop on a face representing representing nervousness or confusion), and weather pictograms used to depict weather conditions.[4][5] These emoji were deployed on DoCoMo's i-Mode service.[1]

The DoCoMo i-Mode set included facial expressions, such as smiley faces, derived from a Japanese visual style commonly found in manga and anime, combined with kaomoji and smiley elements.[6] Although this included several smiley faces, the specific "Face with Tears of Joy" smiley face (😂) appeared as part of emoji sets from au by KDDI and SoftBank Mobile, with 😆 being considered the closest fallback for the DoCoMo set.[7]

When Apple released the first iPhone in 2007, there was an emoji keyboard intended for Japanese users only.[3] However, after iPhone users in the United States discovered that downloading Japanese apps allowed access to the keyboard, pressure grew to expand availability of the emoji keyboard beyond Japan, and in 2011, Apple made it a standard iOS feature worldwide.[3] Global popularity of emojis then surged in the early to mid-2010s.[8]

What was officially called the "Face with Tears of Joy" emoji by the Unicode Consortium[9] was introduced with the October 2010 release of Unicode 6.0.[10] It was sourced from the SoftBank Mobile and au by KDDI emoji sets.[11] The Face with Tears of Joy emoji is in the Emoticons Unicode block under: U+1F602 😂 FACE WITH TEARS OF JOY (HTML 😂).[12] The cat variant under U+1F639 😹 CAT FACE WITH TEARS OF JOY (HTML 😹) is also available.[13]

The Face with Tears of Joy emoji is encoded as follows:

Character information
Preview 😂 😹
Encodings decimal hex decimal hex
Unicode 128514 U+1F602 128569 U+1F639
UTF-8 240 159 152 130 F0 9F 98 82 240 159 152 185 F0 9F 98 B9
UTF-16 55357 56834 D83D DE02 55357 56889 D83D DE39
GB 18030 148 57 252 56 94 39 FC 38 149 48 132 51 95 30 84 33
Numeric character reference 😂 😂 😹 😹
Shift JIS (au by KDDI)[11] 244 104 F4 68 244 103 F4 67
Shift JIS (SoftBank 3G)[11] 251 82 FB 52
7-bit JIS (au by KDDI)[7] 123 73 7B 49 123 72 7B 48
Emoji shortcode[14] :joy: :joy_cat:
Google name (pre-Unicode)[15] HAPPY FACE 5 CAT FACE 3
CLDR text-to-speech name[16] face with tears of joy cat with tears of joy

Popularity on social media and cultural impact[edit]

Appearance on Twemoji, used on Twitter, Discord, Roblox, the Nintendo Switch, and more

In the mid-2010s, the emoji became mainstream; on June 5, 2014, FiveThirtyEight noted that the "Face with Tears of Joy" emoji (😂) was the second most used emoji on the Twitter platform, appearing in 278+ million tweets, only behind the "Hearts" emoji (♥️)'s 342+ million figure.[17] Oxford University Press partnered with the mobile technology business SwiftKey to explore frequency and usage statistics for global popular emoji usage, detailing that in 2015, 😂 was chosen as Oxford Dictionaries' Word of the Year because it was the most used emoji, globally, in that respective year.[8] In a blog post, Oxford Dictionaries expressed that the emoji "was chosen as the 'word' that best reflected the ethos, mood, and preoccupations of 2015."[18] SwiftKey further detailed that the emoji made up 20% of all the emojis used in the UK in 2015, and 17% of those in the US, up from 4% and 9% respectively, in 2014.[8] Oxford Dictionaries president Caspar Grathwohl explained Oxford's choice, stating, "emoji are becoming an increasingly rich form of communication, one that transcends linguistic borders."[2]

In May 2015, Instagram Engineering posted a blog that highlighted Instagram user data, revealing that the emoji was the most popularly used on the Instagram platform.[19] On December 7, 2015, the Twitter Data team tweeted out that the Face with Tears of Joy emoji was the most used on the Twitter platform during the year, with over 6.6 billion uses of it to that point.[10][20]

On World Emoji Day 2017, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg shared the ten most used emojis on the Facebook platform; the Face with Tears of Joy emoji ranked #1 globally, as well as in United Kingdom.[21] The emoji was also one of the top three most used globally on Facebook's Messenger app.[22] Also during the observance, SwiftKey announced that the emoji was the most used in the United Kingdom during 2016.[23] In 2017, Time reported that for the third consecutive year the emoji "[reigned] supreme on social media".[24]

Twitter users voted this as the most popular emoji "of all time" in 2017, granting it the Lifetime Achievement Award in Emojipedia's annual World Emoji Awards announced on the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange for World Emoji Day.[25][26]


In November 2013, Brenden Gallagher of Complex ranked the "Laughing Crying Face" emoji at #2 in his "Emoji Power Rankings", writing that "research courtesy of Complex Stats and Information indicates that the Laughing Crying Face has almost reached a point of complete saturation".[27] In response to Oxford's choice to make "😂" their word of the year in 2015, Slate staff writer Katy Waldman commented that "😂 [is] the right linguistic incarnation of yet another complicated year, not to mention a good commentary on the very act of choosing a word of the year. What does it mean? Is it good or bad? It depends! With [the emoji's] intense and inscrutable emotional lability, [it] is less of a word and more of an invitation to invent some sort of meaning".[28]

Regarding the reasoning behind the emoji's popularity, Fred Benenson, author of Emoji Dick, commented that "it is versatile. It can be used to convey joy, obviously, but also 'I'm laughing so hard I'm crying.' So you've got two basic, commonly occurring human emotions covered."[10] Benenson also attributed the emoji's popularity to it being one of the better designed emojis from Apple.[10] Abi Wilkinson, a freelance journalist writing for The Guardian, opined that the Face with Tears of Joy emoji is "the worst emoji of all", describing it as an "obnoxious, chortling little yellow dickhead [with] bulbous, cartoonish tears streaming down its face".[29]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Alt, Matt (December 7, 2015). "Why Japan Got Over Emojis". Slate.
  2. ^ a b Steinmetz, Katy (November 16, 2015). "Oxford's 2015 Word of the Year Is This Emoji". Time. Retrieved July 28, 2017.
  3. ^ a b c Cocozza, Paula (November 17, 2015). "Crying with laughter: how we learned how to speak emoji". The Guardian. Retrieved July 28, 2017.
  4. ^ CNN, Jacopo Prisco (23 May 2018). "Shigetaka Kurita: The man who invented emoji". CNN. Retrieved 14 November 2020.
  5. ^ Nakano, Mamiko. "Why and how I created emoji: Interview with Shigetaka Kurita". Ignition. Translated by Mitsuyo Inaba Lee. Archived from the original on June 10, 2016. Retrieved August 16, 2015.
  6. ^ Moschini, Ilaria (29 August 2016). "The "Face with Tears of Joy" Emoji: A Socio-Semiotic and Multimodal Insight into a Japan-America Mash-Up". HERMES: Journal of Language and Communication in Business (55): 11. doi:10.7146/hjlcb.v0i55.24286.
  7. ^ a b Scherer, Markus; Davis, Mark; Momoi, Kat; Tong, Darick; Kida, Yasuo; Edberg, Peter. "Emoji Symbols: Background Data—Background data for Proposal for Encoding Emoji Symbols" (PDF). UTC L2/10-132.
  8. ^ a b c "Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2015 is…". Oxford Dictionaries Blog. November 16, 2015. Retrieved July 28, 2017.
  9. ^ Feldman, Brian (November 17, 2015). "Who Did This? How to Use the Laugh-Cry Emoji, 2015's Word of the Year". New York Magazine. Retrieved July 28, 2017.
  10. ^ a b c d McHugh, Molly (December 9, 2015). "Time Should've Made the Tears of Joy Emoji Person of the Year". Wired. Retrieved July 28, 2017.
  11. ^ a b c Unicode Consortium. "Emoji Sources". Unicode Character Database.
  12. ^ "Unicode Character 'FACE WITH TEARS OF JOY' (U+1F602)". FileFormat.info. Retrieved July 28, 2017.
  13. ^ "Unicode Character 'CAT FACE WITH TEARS OF JOY' (U+1F639)". FileFormat.info. Retrieved February 13, 2018.
  14. ^ JoyPixels. "Emoji Alpha Codes". Emoji Toolkit.
  15. ^ Android Open Source Project (2009). "GMoji Raw". Skia Emoji.
  16. ^ Unicode, Inc. "Annotations". Common Locale Data Repository.
  17. ^ Chalabi, Mona (June 5, 2014). "The 100 Most-Used Emojis". FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved July 31, 2017.
  18. ^ Hale-Stern, Kaila (November 16, 2015). "And Your 2015 Word of the Year Is...the Face With Tears of Joy Emoji?". Gizmodo. Retrieved July 29, 2017.
  19. ^ Dimson, Thomas (May 1, 2015). "Emojineering Part 1: Machine Learning for Emoji Trends". Instagram Engineering. Retrieved July 28, 2017.
  20. ^ @TwitterData (December 7, 2015). "Here are the most-used emoji on Twitter this year. 😂 comes out on top, with 6.6 billion uses. #YearOnTwitter" (Tweet). Retrieved July 28, 2017 – via Twitter.
  21. ^ Farokhmanesh, Megan (July 17, 2017). "Facebook's most-used emoji accurately sum up the platform: hearts and tears". The Verge. Retrieved July 28, 2017.
  22. ^ Cohen, David (July 14, 2017). "On Any Given Day, 60 Million Emojis Are Used on Facebook; 5 Billion on Messenger". Adweek. Retrieved July 31, 2017.
  23. ^ "Emojis honoured in world celebration". BBC. July 17, 2017. Retrieved July 28, 2017.
  24. ^ Bruner, Raisa (July 17, 2017). "7 Emoji Facts to Help You Celebrate World Emoji Day". Time. Retrieved July 31, 2017.
  25. ^ @EmojiAwards (July 18, 2017). "🏆 Congratulations to 😂 Face With Tears of Joy: winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award. Announced live from @NYSE for #WorldEmojiDay 2017 👏" (Tweet). Retrieved August 18, 2017 – via Twitter.
  26. ^ "Winners of World Emoji Awards to be Announced on World Emoji Day". Broadway World. July 17, 2017. Retrieved August 18, 2017.
  27. ^ Gallagher, Brenden (November 14, 2013). "Emoji Power Rankings: The Top 25". Complex. Retrieved July 28, 2017.
  28. ^ Waldman, Katy (November 16, 2015). "This Year's Word of the Year Isn't Even a Word 😂😂😂". Slate. Retrieved July 29, 2017.
  29. ^ Wilkinson, Abi (November 24, 2016). "The 'tears of joy' emoji is the worst of all – it's used to gloat about human suffering". The Guardian. Retrieved July 28, 2017.

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