๐Ÿ“Ÿ Pocket Bell Pagers & Emojis

During the height of their popularity in Japan, a pager was commonly referred to as a "pocket bell"  (ใƒใ‚ฑใƒƒใƒˆใƒ™ใƒซ, poketto beru, or pokeberu ใƒใ‚ฑใƒ™ใƒซ).

One such pocket bell device released by Japanese mobile phone operator Docomo in March 1995 is recognized as being one of the earliest devices on which users could directly send emoji-like symbols to one another's devices.

Specifically, users were able to send a simple pixel heart design (โค) to one another by di­al­ling “88” or “89” when sending a message to another user's pager. The devices also featured a telephone (โ˜Ž) symbol.

The popularity of this feature amongst Japan's youth has consistently been cited by Shigetaka Kurita as a direct source of inspiration when creating Docomo's 1999 emoji set.