A smiley, often used in an e-mail nowadays, has a Western-style, Japanese style, and others. How was it born?
In a New York Times interview in April 1969, a well-known writer Vladimir Nabokov said: "I often think there should exist a special typographical sign for a smile – some sort of concave mark, a supine round bracket ..."
Scott Elliott Fahlman, a computer scientist at Carnegie Mellon University, was the first documented person to use the emoticons
:-(, with a specific suggestion that they be used to express emotion, in September, 1982.
Japanese users popularized a style of emoticons (顔文字, kaomoji) that can be understood without tilting one's head to the left such like
It is said that Wakabayashi Yasushi (若林泰志), a Deaf manager of disability related bulletin board of "ASCII NET", contrived kaomoji (^_^) in 1986.
At the beginning it was used at an online bulletin board system. He seemed to have been using it as a signature first, but the other users were increasing a variation gradually, and a smiley was the tool which indicates feeling.