The number of avatars that an average teen in Japan has ranging from video games, LaFloret blogs, to Second Life H&M designers just got bigger with Docomo’s new avatar-friendly text program. As we’ve reported over the years in our Japan Youth Culture Studies, when it comes to mobile phones, one of the most popular features for young people is not the size and shape of a phone, but its texting features. To provide some perspective on the big players in Japan when it comes to mobile phones and preferences, AU is considered to have excellent designer motifs but often more popular among an older demographic; Softbank has cheap plans and the advantage of hooking up with the iPhone making it a big hit with trendy mobile phone users; but the real winner among youth culture, particularly females, is Docomo because of their mail features–and most importantly text messaging.

Now, their new “Deco Mail” feature includes animated text messaging capabilities whereby you can create a portrait of yourself in digitized avatar formats using “Portrait Deco Ani” created by content geniuses Cybrid, then have the option of changing your facial expression, adding your friends’ avatars, or include a personalized or templated background to create a stronger, more personal emoticon for communication.

The cost is the equivalent to about $3 per month with an option of 14 billion combinations.

For more information about Label Networks’ Japan Youth Culture Studies, or North American cell phone, communication, and texting patterns from the Digital Lifestyle Profile Report 2008, email; (323) 630-4000.