Re: Emoji: Public Review December 2008: e-1DE CHINESE ZODIAC DRAGON

From: Kenneth Whistler (
Date: Tue Mar 10 2009 - 17:19:03 CST

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    > > We considered this suggestion, and decided that this dragon symbol
    > > was neither part of such a series nor specifically a Zodiac symbol
    > > itself. We renamed it to just DRAGON as a result.
    > That does not seem to be an entirely good decision.

    I disagree, and think it was the proper decision to take.

    > While I do not
    > think that we should encode CHINESE ZODIAC DRAGON and CHINESE ZODIAC
    > RABBIT, the fact is that in encoding DRAGON and RABBIT we are encoding
    > characters which can (and should) be used for those functions.

    I disagree again. The character for CHINESE ZODIAC DRAGON
    is U+9F8D. (Or correlated with it, the 5th earthly branch symbol,
    U+8FB0.) See:

    It isn't represented as an emoji of a dragon. Although that doesn't
    stop people, of course, from using pictures of animals to
    represent the Chinese zodiacal signs, any more than it prevents
    Western astrologists from using pictures of mythical figures
    and beasts to represent Western zodiacal signs.

    > It does not matter what Japanese telecoms are using them for.

    Actually, it does.

    > It must
    > be understood that once any of these characters are encoded, they
    > CEASE to be "emoji" symbols,

    No, they don't.

    > and are just plain old Symbols for Use By
    > Anybody who wants to use the Universal Character set.

    They may *additionally* be interpreted as plain old symbols
    for arbitrary use by anybody else, to mean whatever they
    think they should mean. But such use is buyer-beware when
    picked out of sets encoded for other purposes.

    Grabbing a couple of animal emoji out of a big set of
    such (including many that manifestly nothing to do with
    zodiacal signs, such as SNAIL, PENGUIN, OCTOPUS, HAMSTER,
    POODLE, ...), and claiming that in RABBIT and DRAGON "we are encoding
    characters which can (and should) be used for [the
    Chinese zodiacal] functions" strikes me as just such
    a buyer-beware mistake.


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