Emoticon and smileys is big in the Internet world especially Japan. In Japanese emoticon is called Kaomoji (顔文字 or facemark), which means texts that formed a facial expression. Kaomoji can be used and seen especially on chat room, text messaging, e-mail etc. Sometimes I am very impressed on the cuteness and wide range of Japanese emoticons.
The reason of Japanese Kaomoji can be so playful is because they are using 2-byte character, allowing more varieties on the look of facemark. For example, a Japanese “happy” kaomoji could have more than 30 kinds of varieties. Japanese facemark is cute but certainly it’s hard to type it out. However I found a way to turn Hiragana words to cute Kaomoji easily by using Japanese IME keyboard.
First you need to have Japanese character input. In this tutorial, I’m using Microsoft IME Standard 2002 version 8.1 in Windows XP (click here to download if you are not having it at this moment). Click “Show the language bar” to toggle the Japanese language bar. Then click on the small down facing triangle to bring out a menu, and select the “Add Words and Entries” where the icon is a pen with a notebook.
What we are going to do with it is that we will add the facemark into your Japanese text library as a word. Well we need to have facemark examples library to grab the facemarks and I found two good sites for reference, one is facemark.jp and second is Hiroette.com.
In this tutorial, I’m using the Ohayou (good morning) facemark. Highlight the facemark you like and copy it to clipboard. I use ~~~ヾ(＾∇＾)おはよー♪ . Now, click the “Add Words and Entries”, a window will popup like below.
The facemark is automatically appears in the Display area, if not paste the facemark that you copied just now to the Display field. Then in Reading field, enter “おはよう”, and in the Part of Speech, select “顔文字”, located almost at the bottom of the drop down menu. Add a comment if you wish but it is not necessary. Click Register to finish the process.
Now you successfully registered a Japanese facemark! To test out whether it works, open MS Word or other text writing programs, then try to type out “おはよう” and press Spacebar, you will see that in the drop down menu, ~~~ヾ(＾∇＾)おはよー♪ appears in first selection field like below. This means that the facemark had successfully registered. Select it and now you just turned the boring Hiragana to cute facemark!
Many thanks to facemark.jp who inspired me to write this tutorial.