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How to activate the hidden keyboard of Japanese emoticons on your iPhone

The Japanese always liked to express emotions in text messages, so much so that they invented the characters Emoji, which became a global fever and are now very popular worldwide. But well before the colorful figurines appeared, there were the emoticons, which was how programmers expressed feelings in a text-only world (before the graphical interface created by the engineers at Xerox Parc and later popularized by the Macintosh *).

Therefore, before the Emoji, the Japanese already used typefaces to create fun faces. This has become so traditional that there is still a virtual keyboard on the iPhone that brings these ready-made emoticons, which is hidden from Western users.

In this article, we will show you how to enable them, so you can also use them on social networks in an easy way.


On iOS there are two virtual keyboards for Japanese users: the Kana it’s the Romaji. The latter uses western characters to transcribe syllabic writings. And it is precisely on this Romaji keyboard that there is a shortcut to sets of emoticons.

Follow the steps to access them:


Step 1: Open the Settings application.

Step 2: Go to the menu General ›Keyboard› Keyboards.

Step 3: Touch Add New Keyboard.

Step 4: Look for the option Japanese and touch it.

Step 5: Select option Romaji. With this, you activate the keyboard that will bring the emoticons.

Step 6: Open Notes, iMessage or any application where you plan to use the emoticons. When the keyboard appears, touch the globe at the bottom of the keyboard for 1 second until the menu appears. Touch the Japanese option.

Step 7: With the Japanese keyboard selected, tap the number button 123 so that the shortcut for the emoticons appears.

Step 8: Touch the button ^ _ ^.

Step 9: In the bar above the keyboard you will see that some emoticon suggestions made with characters already appear. To see the full list of them, touch the up arrow.

Step 10: Now just choose which one you want to use in your message, social network or text.


There, from this moment on, you can pull the emoticon shortcut whenever you need it. After choosing what you want, return the keyboard to Portuguese and continue typing normally.

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