Emoji is a special standartized set of icons, invented by Shigetaka Kurita in 1995.
Emoticons are any smiley symbols.
Emoticons represent a broad category of icons, while emoji include only specific icons.
E.g. in this app ( Emoji Emoticons Art) you can see Emoji Library (the full collection of emoji) and and Emoticons collection. The difference becomes quite clear.
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