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At first I thought it was a typo, but inserting the character 煜 into birthday wishes or the like seems to be common, e.g.

おめでとうございます
おめでとうございます
おめでとうございます

I have several problems:

  1. What does it mean?
    WWWJDIC has "bright, shining, brilliant", which sort of fits.

  2. How is it pronounced (if at all)?
    The readings given in WWWJDIC are イク, オウ, かがや・く, although none of them look like a particularly meaningful interjection.

  3. How is it typed?
    None of the readings イク, オウ, かがや・く, produce the character in my IME (although I do get 燠, which has the readings イク, オウ, おき and あたたか・い).

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okwave.jp/qa/q6382943.html seems to suggest that the codepoint for that character gets rendered as a banana emoji on cellphones, but honestly I have no experience with this and can't seem to find any other site which says the same thing, so I'll leave someone else to answer this question ;). (Especially since I don't know why someone would use a banana emoji in such expressions...) –  Darius Jahandarie Jun 4 '13 at 2:53
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バナナか…… I don't know why someone would use bananas. Maybe a different 携帯 provider uses them for something like ☆ or ★, which would make more sense... –  Earthliŋ Jun 4 '13 at 2:56
    
Indeed, I too was thinking ★ would make sense, given the kanji. It may be hard to find a source on that unless someone has a Japanese phone and can test emailing themselves such a character. –  Darius Jahandarie Jun 4 '13 at 2:59
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@DariusJahandarie Even if they have a Japanese phone, they might not have the same one as whoever decided to use that character. Probably the only way to be sure would be to find someone who used it and ask them what character it was on their phone. –  snailboat Jun 4 '13 at 13:55
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2 Answers

According to a very similar online discussion, @Darius and @Earthling are on the right track. 煜 is a non-keitai rendering of the "banana" emoji.

As for "Why banana?", this brief online chat suggests there's no literal meaning. Rather, it's for atmosphere, replacing the closing ○ mark with something brighter.

Cheers.

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I don't think that a banana symbol makes a lot of sense here. Also, if it was a banana used instead of a closing mark, it wouldn't appear in the middle as おめでとう。ございます... –  Earthliŋ Jun 4 '13 at 3:48
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What other explanation seems more logical to you? Note that this is written on that page: 因みに、「バナナ=煜」は、確か、au の場合の話であり、他のキャリアでは、もしかすると別の絵文字が「煜」になっているかもしれません。 (そこまでは調べていません) –  ssb Jun 4 '13 at 8:39
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If you're looking for 'sense', I should point out that the way young Japanese people type online often doesn't make sense either. It doesn't surprise me in the slightest to see bananas, stars, rabbits and playing card suits punctuating conversations. Think of them as a sort of meme, in the original sense of the word. –  Billy Jun 4 '13 at 9:22
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@ssb 妊娠をおめでとう煜ございます? I understand the page, I just don't believe that 煜 was intended to be a banana, nor something replacing a period. –  Earthliŋ Jun 4 '13 at 10:47
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Here's a character map including d.hatena.ne.jp/NAOI/20120106/1325844348 –  Jens Jensen Jun 4 '13 at 20:02
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up vote 5 down vote accepted

It is now clear that 煜 was never intended to mean anything related to the kanji. In that sense it is a typo introduced by reading a 携帯 message on a computer. I did find an alternative to the banana hypothesis, though:

maps to the smiley face (:D) on the SoftBank iPhone. (Helps if you have "accessibility" tools for people with impaired eyesight installed.)

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