“Emoji is the Japanese term for picture characters. These "picture characters" are standardized and built into smartphones.”
Therefore, Emoji can roughly be translated to standardized icons with a meaning. The key word here is standardized. Emoticons are quite different than Emoji being that first; Emoji is a picture that is derived from an actual code. The code, which is easily transferred by email, phones, etc is then sent and finally converted to an icon for the user to see.
Secondly, emoticons are different from emoji in that emoticons is a generic name for characters or pictures meant to display a facial expression or convey emotion from a bodily posture. The first emoticon ":-)" was used on Sep. 9, 1982 by Scott Fahlman but shortly thereafter computer users in east Asia people developed much more complex combinations such as (^-^)/ (person raising one hand to ask a question) and ＼(^o^)／ (person raising both hands and cheer).
Emoji is a set of codes that aren't technically supposed to be displayed but converted so we can see what it is. Emoji is a set of codes each identifying a different "thing". “ Emoji are often pictographs—images of things such as faces, weather, ... emotions ... or activities.
We at Insyte have been working on various Emoji applications. Be it Emoticons or Animated Emojis, we have done it all. In our recent projects we have made Emoji danced too.