Apple has always been good at supporting Japan, that's why it's their second-biggest market.
I don't have iOS 4 on my phone yet, but my Japanese iPhone has English as the default language. In most "applications", which is what Apple in Japan calls "Apps", Mail for example, I have a Western alphanumeric keyboard. This has "123" to access the numeric keyboard, which then shows "ABC" to get back to the alphabet, and a World symbol to access Japanese-language input. In the Japanese mode, "123" and "ABC" toggle between numbers and letters.
Daniel's report, based on information from Davide Crudo, slightly misrepresents this. The alphabet keyboard, known in Japan as Romaji, is used to enter Japanese text phonetically by means of Roman-style characters. The phonetic text is then converted to Kanji (Chinese characters) or Kana (Japanese phonetic characters) by a combination of the "convert" key, the space bar and predictive text.
In the Japanese mode, besides "123" and "ABC" there is also the World symbol, and this toggles between English-input ABC, Japanese-input ABC and a Kana-based keypad similar to a Japanese phone keypad. Similarly, this enters Japanese text phonetically by means of Kana characters, which is then converted to Kanji by a combination of "convert", space bar and predictive text.
As I have mentioned in previous postings, this is actually superior to the keypad entry for most phones in Japan, because instead of pushing each key multiple times, you simply slide your finger from the first-push Kana to the one you want. Anyway, no Emoji, Emoticons or Kaocons available in Mail.
But when you use the Message App, which is basically SMS but can also send messages to regular email, the World key also offers, besides the phone-style keypad, a huge choice of maybe usefiul but mostly silly images to insert into your text. In an email they look like this:
Emoji? 〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓 〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓 〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓
So you can only see them on the SMS messages. I haven't tried sending them overseas, but there are around 100 images available, via the keyboard, on an iPhone 3 in Japan.
The "^_^" smile key is certainly not available on version 3. So this report from Davide Crudo is new. I would call it an "emoticon" just the same as all the others, sideways or not (:
: ; ) , because I just haven't heard of Kaokon before today.
But definitely the Headline "iOS 4 includes Emoji input on Japanese keyboard" is not correct: Emoji is not new in iOS 4 and ^_^ is not Emoji ~L~