Forget :) Baidu's Simeji App Captures Teenage Hearts in Japan

Photographer: Shigeru Sato/Bloomberg

The word "hot" in Japanese converted into emojis with the Simeji app. Close

The word "hot" in Japanese converted into emojis with the Simeji app.

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Photographer: Shigeru Sato/Bloomberg

The word "hot" in Japanese converted into emojis with the Simeji app.

Forget :) – the new smiley faces that teens in Japan use involve an elaborate mix of symbols that can be longer than a tweet.

Users tap out the latest slang words and catchphrases from hit TV shows on their phones and the Simeji app converts them into emoji, like this – (◥◣_◢◤) – which means Gangnam Style!

The app’s owned by Baidu, China's biggest Internet search engine and Baidu plans to double the number of users of Simeji in Japan to 20 million when Apple offers a new mobile operating system this fall.

Simeji has been downloaded about 10 million times for Google's Android system, said Rin Yano its creator. “Simeji is like my baby, in which I have poured a lot of time and energy,” Yano said in an interview in Tokyo.

“We are targeting Japanese teenagers who love to use pictures, new phrases from popular TV shows and social media services like Twitter.”

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