Update: We Did It!
With your support and lots of publicity, the Unicode Consortium announced that DUMPLING (along with TAKEOUT BOX, FORTUNE COOKIE and CHOPSTICKS) were new emoji candidates. They are on track to be part of Unicode 10, which will be released in June 2017.
Dumplings are Universal
Dumplings are one of the most universal cross-cultural foods in the world. Poland has pierogi. Nepal has momos. Russia has pelmeni, Japan has gyoza. Italy has ravioli. Georgia has khinkali. Korea has mandoo. Jews have kreplach. Argentina has empanadas, and China has potstickers.
Yet, there is no dumpling emoji.
There is a pizza emoji, a hamburger emoji and a taco emoji. There are also a range of semi-obscure Japanese foods including fish cake with swirl design, rice ball, and dango. But there is no usable dumpling emoji in the standard set.
There’s a time to change that and that time is now.
Our Proposed Dumpling Emoji Glyphs
Who Controls Our Emoji?
How could this be? Those of us behind the Dumpling Emoji Project were surprised to discover there was no dumpling emoji, so we started looking into how emojis were determined.
We were surprised by how the decision process was concentrated in a handful of multinational American technical corporations.
When you see or send an emoji, that emoji has likely been voted upon by the Unicode Consortium and approved to be standardized across platforms.
Without the guidance presented by the Unicode Consortium, an Apple-created emoji would appear as a jumble on any non-Apple device.
So, who votes on what emoji gets onto this universal lexicon?
Well, Unicode currently has only 11 full voting members, each who pay $18,000 a year for the privilege.
Eight of the members are U.S. multinational tech companies: Oracle, IBM, Microsoft, Adobe, Apple, Google, Facebook, and Yahoo.
The only other three full voting members are the German software company SAP, the Chinese telecom company Huawei and the government of Oman.*
Unicode is a standards organization. The folks on the committee which oversees emoji are mostly male, mostly American, and overwhelmingly engineers.
And it takes anywhere from 18 months to two years for a single emoji to move through the approval process, as it also needs to receive buy-in from ISO (yet another international standards body).
This is not the best system to determine a rapidly evolving, global, visual language.
Emoji By The People, For The People
We want to open up the discussion of emoji policy and what it should look like going forward. We are forming a grassroots organization called Emojination to give voice to regular folks on issues of emoji.
Our motto is "Emoji by the people, for the people."
And you can join us! Anyone can be involved.
We're submitting our dumpling emoji proposal to right the dumpling disparity. But our bigger goal is to raise enough for our group to join Unicode as an official non-voting associate member (the same level as Twitter).
This costs $2,500 a year, which is why we set our goal at $4,000 (net of reward costs). Once we raise that, we could possibly choose annual membership with gives us half a vote on the technical committee that oversees emoji (which costs $7,500 for non-profits). The more money we raise for Emojination, the more years of membership we can secure for the future.
We want to create a system where popular emoji requests (#emojirequest) can systematically bubble up, and be transformed into proper proposals for the Unicode Consortium.
This isn't just about dumplings. We want to bring giraffes, the Nazar, and other in-demand emoji into the world in a diverse, inclusive way.
But we need your help to make it happen.
Join us to helping determine the future of emoji.
We have all sorts of dumpling-related schwag.
Dumpling Workshops and Parties in San FranciscoDumpling workshops and parties in the Bay Area catered by the two-time winner of the Dumpling Wars, Leland Wong. Hand-rolled skins, pork, shrimp and vegetarian. Events start at 15 people and can up to parties of 50 or more. Great for home part or office event. Leland's dumplings are so good, they made him a judge the third year so he couldn't compete again.
The Night of 1,000 Momos in New York CityThe ultimate dumpling indulgence! A party of six are served up to 1,000 momos at Little Tibet in Jackson Heights, Queens (which has a 4.5 star rating on Yelp.). This comes courtesy of Jeff Orlick, the founder of the Momo Crawl.
Dumpling Crawl in Los Angeles.
Dumpling crawls in Los Angeles or New York City hosted by Kenny Lao, founder of Rickshaw Dumplings. Follow Kenny to the hidden dumpling gems. Tickets come in sets of two. Dates coordinated with him after the Kickstarter campaign is over.
Dumplings around the world tote bag!
Evil Dumpling Art
"Whether it's dumplings or tacos or pizza emojis, the Unicode Consortium is regulating language. People speak with their hands these days and language should be open. I believe that not only should there be a dumpling emoji, there should be a bao emoji too."
— Eddie Huang, founder of Baohouse and author of "Fresh Off the Boat."
"How can there not be a dumpling emoji? Its like having no 'A' in the 'ABCs.'"
— Tim Wu, Columbia Law professor who invented "Net Neutrality" and former cashier at a dumpling restaurant in Virginia.
"The choices for expressing affection are startlingly limited. I want to be able to say "You are my little [dumpling emoji] — but I can't. (BTW, there's no cabbage either, for those who want to court in French. )"
— Amanda Bennett, former editor of The Philadelphia Inquirer and former China correspondent for The Wall Street Journal.
"A dumpling emoji? What a no brainer. It's so simple and telegraphic — goodness in small packages. It just makes you smile."
— Ming Tsai, chef, author and host of PBS-TV's SimplyMing
"Until dumplings have a place at the emoji table, ours cannot be a truly inclusive society."
— Jeannie Suk, first female Asian-American tenured professor at Harvard Law School.
"A dumpling emoji could be as full of meaning as a soup dumpling: bursting with flavor and heat."
— V.V. Ganeshananthan, novelist and dumplingoisseur
"Mmm...dumpling." — Parker Conrad, CEO of Zenefits and dumpling aficionado.
"If you are willing to call them pierogi emojis, I'm in."
— Craig Silverstein, Dean of Infrastructure at Khan Academy and first employee at Google.
"If there was a national fast food chain serving up dumplings, we'd probably have a dumpling emoji already. Since there isn't, getting a dumpling emoji into the mix has to be a people's movement. Rise up and get doughy."
— Andrea Nguyen, author of Asian Dumplings: Mastering Gyoza, Spring Rolls, Samosas, and More, Vietworldkitchen.com
"The dumpling is universal, the dumpling emoji should be as well."
— Kenny Lao, Author of "Hey There, Dumpling!" and Co-Founder Rickshaw Dumpling Bar and Trucks.
"Billions of people can't be wrong, dumplings are HOT. The world demands dumpling emoji!!"
— James Hong, co-founder of HOT or NOT.
"It's not animation. I've seen these dumplings texting each other. They mean business."
— Duncan Robson, video editor, narrator and animator.
"Every culture recognizes the dumpling. We need to be able to communicate this in a single character—optimally a cute one."
— Jeff Orlick, founder of the Momo Crawl in New York City.
"I've been asking for a pierogi emoji for years—it's time to take matters into our own hands."
— Casey Barber, author of Pierogi Love: New Takes on an Old-World Comfort Food
"Dumplings are a multicultural sensation of flavor and tradition. It’s time they we’re immortalized with other classic foods on the emoji keyboard."
— Porter Haney, CEO of wedgies.com and dumpling lover.
Dumpling Emoji Press
BBC, December 18, 2015
Dumpling Porn From Around the World
Here, to reward you for getting to the bottom, are photos dumplings from around the world. The family resemblance is undeniable.
And to reward those of you who have reached the very bottom of this Kickstarter, meet "Bling Bling Dumpling" or as we put it "Dumpling meets Burning Man." - art by Yiying Lu.
* There are also other lower membership tiers which include the government of India, the government of Bangladesh and the University of California, Berkeley. The lower membership tiers include full and half votes on technical committees, including the Unicode Technical Committee, which oversees emoji.
Risks and challenges
Our draft dumpling emoji proposal is ready to be submitted for the Unicode Consortium, so there is very little risk there. It is a well-written proposal. Whether or not Unicode accepts it, however, is still in question. But we are ready to do our part to close the dumpling disparity.
Since a number of our prizes are mailed, there are only some minor challenges there with improper addresses and things that involve mailing physical objects.
One risk: we are aiming to get $2,500 (net of dumpling reward costs) to get a non-voting affiliate membership on Unicode, so we set our bar at $4,000. But if certain high-dollar rewards are chosen, where the underlying costs are also very high, we might end up "hitting our goal" but not actually having quite enough money to join the consortium. If that is the case, we can lobby for more donors outside the Kickstarter to get us to the $2,500 level.
Last, there are some coordination hurdles with the dumpling crawls and parties in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, in that not all supporters might be able to make the days that we hold the crawls. This is why we are making those rewards transferrable to friends.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (57 days)