Japanese Emoji Meaning

Updated: January 28, 2017
by Ray Alexander

Okay, emoji is Japanese and so am I. I tend to avoid using emojis because they look childish and stupid, but that's a 50 year old man talking. I've mentioned before about the use of Japanese emojis in an email subject line; some marketers suggest that it's effective, while I find more subscribers tend to get annoyed and unsubscribe (because they're childish!)

Japanese Emoji Meaning

Japanese Emoji Characters

Picture character icons ("emojis", literally) are self explanatory, but those "Kanji" character icons have their own meanings and it'll be good if you know them rather than to use them randomly in a Twitter handle-name.

Here are the icons and the original intention, meaning in what circumstances each icon is used by Japanese;

? (禁止)Prohibited


?(満室)Full (no space/room/seat available)


?(合格)Pass (test)

?(得)Bargain, Best Buy

㊙️(マル秘)Confidential, Secret

㊗️(お祝い)Celebration, Congrats

? Here (i.e. on a map)

?(大変よくできました)Good job, well done (stamp)

?️(月)Per Month (e.g. rent)

?(営業)In Trade (i.e. opening hours)

?(申請)Application (Apply from here)

?(可)OK (e.g. Pets are allowed, OK to bring your own lunch, We can ship abroad)

?️(指定)Designated (e.g. theatre seat, first class train)




?️ ?️ ? ?️ Blood types A, B, AB or O

?(有り)Yes we have / Available. Or(有料)Chargeable

?️(無し)Not available. Or (無料)Free

These two are confusing. One means an existence and the other means non-existence.  Hotel room with "Wifi ?" can mean "Yes, there is a wifi facility", but can also mean "Use of the wifi is chargeable".

?️(サービス)Service Station (Highway), Or "Served free, bonus gift". If you find the icon on a map, that's most likely where a service station is.

Alternative Use

Since these Kanji characters can have more than one meaning, they can be used in alternative context such as;

  • "無" ?️ ..... means "null / nothing" in the enigmatic world of Zen. You can check that out here if you're interested!
  • "月" (Moon)..... "?️?300" means $300 per month, but ?️​ also means Moon/Lunar, or Monday. 満 (Full) 月 (Moon) is... Full moon! ??️?
  • ?..... Means empty, vacant. But also means Sky.
  • "1⃣️8⃣️?"..... 18 Certificate, Adult Only!
  • ?️..... "指" means a finger, fingers/thumbs.
  • ?..... "Discount" means to "cut" a price, doesn't it? "割" also means to smash/break a hard substance such as a glass, ceramic, etc.


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About the author 

Ray Alexander

ASD. Recovering alcoholic. LGBTQ+ advocate. Semi-retired. 15+ years of web-designing experience. 10+ years affiliate marketing. Ex-accountant. I'm nice and real. Ask me if you need any help in starting up your home business.

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