The Kardashians Have Nothing On This Other Kim's New Emoji Collection

Image: Courtesy of Ben Gillin.
Update: The Kim Jong-un-inspired emoji are now available for free on the App Store. If you're bored with the Kimoji app, the Kimunji keyboard could be just what your texting game needs.

This story was originally published on February 12.

When Kim Kardashian launched her Kimoji app last year, it proved so instantly popular that she felt moved to humbly tweet an apology after she "broke the app store." Now, there's a new set of Kim emojis to behold, this time featuring another world-famous Kim — North Korea's authoritarian leader, Kim Jong-un. The set of cartoon-like "Kimunji" icons depicts the irascible head of state crying, smiling, and wearing yellow-framed glasses. There's one of Dennis Rodman, his basketball-playing friend, and another of the big yellow nuclear mushroom cloud that he reportedly dreams of creating.

The playful Kimunji are the brainchild of web designer Ben Gillin, who intended them as a parody of Kardashian's wildly successful app, he explains to Refinery29. Gillin says he has nothing against the Kardashian clan, but that he found the app offering "ridiculous."

"I just found that to be absurd in itself, that it existed," he says. He says he first got the idea for a Kim Jong-un emoji set when Kardashian's app was first released, but actually sat down and designed the Kimunji after its latest update.

Gillin says he never expected his images to go viral, but that's exactly what happened. To date, visitors from more than 100 countries have landed on the Kimunji website, he says, and the project has been featured on Product Hunt and even in The New York Times. Don't count on the Kimunji images to break the app store, though, since Gillin says he has no plans to launch an actual app. If you want to use one of his Kimunjis, you have to download them and paste them into iMessage.

As for the larger political meaning of his emojis, Gillin just hopes they will promote discussion about North Korea.

"People don't even think about it, the things that are happening there," Gillin says. "There's a lot of human rights violations, and just terrible, terrible living conditions. If people think about that for even just a little bit, then that's great... [The Kimunji] are a joke — but that's not a joke."
Image: Courtesy of Ben Gillin.
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