Get ready to fire up your Instagram. As first reported by the New York Times, New York’s famed Museum of Modern Art has acquired the first, original set of 176 emoji for its permanent collection. The emoji in question — described as “glyphs” and designed by Shigetaka Kurita — were created for the Japanese mobile provider NTT DoCoMo to use with their pagers; they were not intended for user-to-user communication, but rather for simple tasks such as delivering weather reports and giving local business information to pager users. The emoji were released in 1999, and they are considered to be the first pictographs to be implemented by mobile devices. MoMA plans to show all of the emoji in the visitors lobby, with a display “that incorporates both 2-D graphics and animations.” How very appropriate!
Photo: Shigetaka Kurita, NTT DOCOMO/MOMA