In the new age of digital communication, when most of our human-to-human interaction takes place on the internet, new strategies to make up for the lack of nonverbal cues, such as body language or voice tone, needed to be invented. This, in turn, led to the popularization of digital pictograms and ideograms, which have evolved greatly over the past two decades, allowing people to express themselves with a new type of nonverbal cue. Digital pictograms and ideograms developed into the virtual “body language” of the digital age, which, at first glance, might appear understandable without knowing the interlocutor’s language or the background to it. As the phenomenon spread around the world and across different cultures, it became clear that some digital pictograms and ideograms differ. In particular, differences between Western- and Eastern-style pictograms became a focus for researchers. However, even different ‘Eastern-style emoticons’ may create confusion among the users. Two countries known for their extensive use of digital pictograms and ideograms in everyday communication are Japan and Korea. Their cultures are often compared, and although they share numerous characteristics, there are some important linguistic differences between them that should not be overlooked. Of particular interest here are the differences resulting from diversity in digital communication between Japan and Korea, and these have not been paid the attention they deserve. This research aims to address the problem of cultural bias (by users from seemingly similar backgrounds) in interpreting and understanding ‘Eastern-style emoticons’. Using a specially designed survey (a mix of forced choice and open questions), we investigate main differences in the reception of keurim mal in Korea and kaomoji in Japan. Moreover, we attempt to anticipate problems that may emerge from possible misunderstandings (or misinterpretations) of such.