The Kappa emote is mainly used when you want to underline irony, sarcasm or a joke.
It shows a black and white photo of former justin.tv employee Josh DeSeno with a mischievous smile.
The meaning of the Kappa emote is not clear, as it is used in many situations. However, most often people use it when they don't mean something seriously, for example, in the context of irony, sarcasm, a joke or spam.
Josh DeSeno was a contributor to the platform justin.tv, where anyone could stream online. Fun Fact: The gaming section of justin.tv, which was already very popular at the time, would later evolve into Twitch.
Among justin.tv employees, it was common to sneak a picture of themselves into the emotes, which were already very popular at the time. DeSeno himself states that his emote was very popular from the beginning because it was one of the shortest on justin.tv with the name "Kappa" and it was easy to pronounce.
But what does Kappa mean? DeSeno decided to use the word Kappa because he is a big fan of Japanese culture. In Japanese tales, "kappa" is a creature that lures people to the water and then pulls them in. The story was used in Japan to make children aware of the dangers of water.
From the classic Kappa emote, many other emotes have since evolved such as KappaPride, KappaRoss or KappaClaus.
Today, Kappa is one of the most popular emotes of all time, is spammed daily on many channels, and is even a well-known term outside of the gaming community.