The Japanese love their iPods, but give them an iPhone and they will most likely shun it. Why is it that a phone that has generated much hype and success worldwide has failed to capture the hearts of a country that loves its sleek gadgets?
The iPhone is incapable of inputting and displaying emoji, which are little symbols and emoticons such as these:
Emoji is a staple in Japanese messaging and the lack of it on the iPhone has Japanese consumers exclaiming, "da-me!" ("No way!) To them, what good is the iPhone if they’re unable to input a pixelated strawberry shortcake as a means of asking a friend if they’d like to go out to eat, or a cute smiley face with hearts for eyes to proclaim: "I’m so in love!"?
Unless the iPhone learns fluent emoji, the Japanese will be more than content using their touchpad mobile phones. (Perhaps a third party App a’la MailWrangler would be able to fill that void, eh, Apple?)
Source: What Japan Thinks