In Japan, they're called "kaomoji" (顔文字) or literally "face character". In short, they're emoticons. These pictographs enable people to convey their mood online, whether that's via chat, email, or in a forum. And now, those face pictographs have apparently evolved.
Recently, Japanese TV showed off two new versions of typical kaomoji, (`_´) for "angry" and (T_T) for "crying". The new evolved versions can be seen below. They are far more complex than the traditional Japanese kaomoji (which already differ from the traditional Western style).
Traditional Japanese kaomoji often contain Cyrillic script, along with traditional Japanese script. The new, evolved ones use also non-Japanese characters. For example, adding Laotian and Tibetan made the evolved version of the crying face. The top image denotes their use.
Online in Japan, people don't seem overly familiar with these evolved faces yet, so I do wonder how common these "evolved" kaomoji really are.
Some of the comments stated how these tweaked faces look like manga illustrations—or that they look like people are just screwing around. One commenter did post this little kaomoji, which I've never seen before and quite like: (੭ु˙꒳˙)੭ु⁾⁾
This one is good, too: ʕ•͡ᴥ•ʔ
These tweaked expressions are easy to understand, which should help them catch on in both Japan and aboard. Online, creativity knows no bounds, and you can always count on the internet to do one thing: evolve.
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