Emojis were first created in Japan in 1999. They may just look like just fun pictures, but the way new ones are added is not easy. Emojis are part of Unicode. Unicode is a special system that can be used to show every “character” in every language. Not all languages use letters, so a character might be a letter, a symbol, or a small drawing. Unicode has almost 100,000 characters.
In Unicode, each character or emoji has a special number, called a “code point”. This code point means exactly that character or emoji and nothing else. For example, the emoji of a person laughing so hard they cry (middle right in picture above) has the code point “U+1F602”. People see the emojis instead of code points, but the code point is what tells the computer what character or emoji to show. Emojis may look slightly different on different computers or phones.
A group of people and companies meet and decide what characters and emojis are important to add to the “Unicode Standard”. The Unicode Standard is the group of all the characters and emojis that everyone agreed upon. New characters and emojis are added every year.