I recently receive a question from a reader about getting emoji（絵文字）working on android in Japan. Here is the only way I know how to make it work: use Docomo's i-mode.net service. The service costs 210 yen per month and allows you to have a docomo.ne.jp email address. Currently, there is a 30-day free trial available.
While Gmail does support emoji from a PC (enable extra emoji in labs to get a full set of Japanese emoji based on AU's emoji), it is not available on the HT-03a, either through the native application, the mobile Gmail site, or the PC version of the Gmail site when viewed from the HT-03a. (More on emoji and Gmail in a future post - I've noticed that, in certain circumstances, emoji can be displayed on the HT-03a but not sent)
While Docomo provides a mobile application for Windows Mobile smart phones, i-mode.net is designed to be accessed from the browser of android handsets. However, several developers have put together android apps to send mail. Two popular ones are IMoNi （芋煮, boiled potatoes or "IMOdeNotIfier"）and emoji-roid （絵文字ロイド, I'll resist the urge to make butt jokes）.
Though I have not tried out imode.net, I believe an alternate IME is needed to input emoji. There are two that I know of that provide this option. One is Simeji, which relies on ImoNi to input emoji, and the other is OpenWnn, which its own dedicated emoji input menu. (More on the IMEs in a future post. Simeji is actually based on OpenWnn now. Here is a link to the latest developer version.)
Sounds great, huh?
Two things that people frequently complain about with Docomo's android phone is 1) no docomo.ne.jp address and 2) no emoji can be fixed.
Sound too good to be true?
Well, it is, sort of. imode.net is not pushed to the phone, so you have to manually check for mail - or use one of the above apps which will periodically check for mail - so while it is a solution for emoji, by using this as your primary mail, you will not instantly receive mail.