While "emoji" has become part of the global lexicon, it's originally a Japanese word--絵文字 (emoji, meaning "picture word"), and has same meaning that it has come to have in English--a pictorial symbol or picture text. The expressive yellow faces often communicate what words alone won't, and they also have the perfect look and shape for mochi rice cakes.

At least, Kokonoe Honpo Tamazawa, a traditional Japanese sweets maker founded in 1675 has concluded. The renowned confectionery store with a 346 year history is combining Japan's favorite expressive symbols with their favorite traditional sweet to make "Emochi"!

Kokonoe Honpo Tamazawa's new Emochi are part of their Wagashi (traditional Japanese sweets) Project, an initiative to promote and revitalize interest in Japanese confectionery by combining modern appeal with the innovative sweets crafting techniques they've pioneered for over 300 years. Emochi are sweet Japanese rice cakes that reproduce classic emoji faces that can be mixed and sent to family and friends for special occasions.

The project also links how emoji are used to communicate feelings through text as mochi is often used to express gratitude as part of Japan's gift-giving culture. The name is a combination of emoji, kimochi (feelings) and of course, mochi! Each Emochi is handcrafted by the skilled artisans at Kokonoe Honpo Tamazawa, and available in 10 variations with rich expressions in three flavors: white bean paste, yuzu bean paste, and miso bean paste.

Laughing (1), big laugh (2), heart eyes (5), and side-tongue (6) are available with white bean paste filling, blushing smiley face (3), kissy face (4), and sad-worried face (8) with yuzu bean paste filling, and sticking-tongue-out (7), surprise face (9), and mask (10) with miso bean paste.

Emochi sets also come with emoji and phrase stickers for the occasion, whether it be weddings, birthdays, get well soon messages, or even an attempt at reconciliation.

Emochi will be available for order in Japan beginning on June 16th, and come in customizable sets of three, recommended sets of three, or a complete collection of 10 emoji faces.

By - Big Neko.