I exchanged messages recently with someone I met from Japan, and I noticed that he often uses ; ; during our conversation. I assumed it was some kind of emoji but I’m not sure what it is. I tried looking for answers in Google but didn’t find anything. Can anyone tell me what it is?


2 Answers 2


This may be difficult to search, but this is a type of Japanese "smiley" (or 顔文字) for a face with tears. Imagine something like this:

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The longer version is (;;) or (;_;) representing a face with two eyes and two teardrops with or without lips, or simply a crying face. The parentheses represent the outline of a face but can be omitted in especially casual text messages.

Similarly (^^) -- "face with smiling eyes" -- can be shortened ^^.


The emphasis on the eyes in this style is reflected in the common usage of emoticons that use only the eyes, e.g. ^^

Semicolons in general are rarely used in Japanese. I think the most likely place you encounter them used as, well, semilocons, would be text translated from a European language into Japanese. Even then translators may choose to omit ot replace them rather than preserving them.

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