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1999 - 02 January 1999
The first emoji set from Japanese carrier Docomo (styled NTT DoCoMo in 1999). One of the most successful early emoji sets due to its use on multiple devices. Designed by Japanese interface designer Shigetaka Kurita, these minimalistic graphics were used on multiple devices, and evolved to a vector graphic implementaiton in 2013.
Commonly cited as the first emoji set, it is more accurate to deem this one of the first emoji sets. An emoji implementation from competing Japanese carrier Softbank predated this set with a 1997 emoji release.