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The iPhone has support for popular Japanese emoticons known as emoji — but only if you’re in Japan. Us Americans (and other iPhone customers across the world) have been stuck with the bland old “:)” — text-based emoticons — until now. A small hack will allow any iPhone owner to use emoji icons without jailbreaking the phone.

The hack, first published by the Japanese site iPodTouchLab and translated by the site WinandMac, works as follows:

Step 1. Download the vcard.vcf here.

Step 2. Import it to your address book program. If you are using Windows, you may want to do it on iPhone directly. Send the vcard.vcf file to yourself. Open in on iPhone’s Email.app, click the vcf file and import all the contacts.

Step 3. Go into “Settings” > “General” > “Keyboard” > “Japanese Keyboard”. Enable the QWERTY keyboard.

Step 4. In notes or any other program you want. Type “emojia”, “emojii” or “emojiu” to select those :) icons.

Step 5. Happy Emoji!

This hack brings a :) to my face, since previously, as Apple noted:

Not all customers can create and view Emoji picture characters. Emoji picture characters can only be sent from an iPhone running OS 2.2 with a SoftBank email account and a SoftBank SIM.

But, if you don’t want to go through that process, you can also download the $5 Touch Dial Emoji app [iTunes Link] in the App Store, or just jailbreak your iPhone, as Gizmodo notes.


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