Here’s what all those strange emoji on your phone really mean

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Sixteen years after they first appeared on cellphone screens, the Oxford English Dictionary just named an emoji as its word of the year. The tears of joy symbol  won out for its common usage — accounting for around one fifth of all emoji characters used in the U.K. and U.S. But few people know that emojis were created by NTT DoCoMo in 1999 for its I-mode service, and many still exist that refer to Japanese food, culture, society and holidays.