Beyond Emoji Play: Paralinguistics and Intergenerational Care-at-Distance

Larissa Hjorth, Sarah Pink, Heather Horst, Jolynna Sinanan, Kana Ohashi, Fumitoshi Kato, Baohua Zhou

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Contemporary digital media practice has been defined as playful (Sicart 2014). This is epitomized by the playfulness of the paralinguistics – emojis (‘picture characters’), emoticons (typographic characters), stamps and stickers. The emoticon was developed to represent mood or the emotion in the absence of being able to see visual expression in text-based communications (Park, Kim and Lee 2014, 14). The use of paralinguistics has become an increasingly popular and playful way of personalizing digital media communications. In Asian countries such as Japan, the historical trajectories towards emoji use are tied to the role of the cute (kawaii) in existing subcultural practices. The birth of the emoji initially in Japan can be linked to the history of kawaii ‘kitten’ writing pioneered by high school girls as part of the mobile pager revolution in the 1990s (Hjorth 2003a; Okada 2005).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTransnational Migrations in the Asia-Pacific
Subtitle of host publicationTransformative Experiences in the Age of Digital Media
EditorsCatherine Gomes, Brenda S. A. Yeoh
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherRowman & Littlefield International
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)9781786605542
ISBN (Print)9781786605535, 9781786616432
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2018

Publication series

NameMedia, Culture and Communication in Asia-Pacific Societies
PublisherRowman & Littlefield


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