Emoji is a combination of two japanese words:
絵 e (picture) + 文字 moji (character)
Emoji support has been added to version 6.1 of Unicode and allows for glyphs such as 😄, 🐱, 🎈, 🏠 and 📶. Some typography engines will even render these as color graphics as well. Typefaces that support Emoji characters include Apple Color Emoji and Symbola.