Little Twin Stars (リトルツインスターズ, Ritoru Tsuin Sutāzu), Kiki and Lala, are a pair of characters from the Japanese company Sanrio. They were born on December 24th (Christmas Eve) on Omoiyari Star in the Dream Star-Cloud. To learn how to be the best, shiniest stars they could be, they traveled a long way to Earth.
Kiki (キキ, Kiki), the younger brother, has short blue (or sometimes brown) hair. He loves star-fishing and inventing things. His curiosity about everything can make him a little cheeky sometimes. He wears a long sleeve white gown and has bare feet.
Lala (ララ, Rara), the older sister, has long pink (or sometimes blonde) hair. She can be a little timid, and she loves drawing, writing poems, and cooking! She wears a long sleeve white gown and has bare feet.
As siblings, Kiki and Lala are really close and always play together. Kiki looks out for his older sister Lala and also thinks it's his job to protect her. Since Kiki is very curious, he can sometimes put himself in a dangerous situation which makes Lala worry about him. Even in the rare circumstances the two get into a fight, the twins manage to get back together fairly quickly.
Kiki and Lala were introduced in 1975 and enjoyed popularity in the early 80s.
Little Twin Stars were originally concepted when the designer, Yasuko Matsumoto, was asked to draw something with animals and children for a Christmas promotion in the mid-70's. After some brainstorming, Matsumoto drew a boy and a girl wearing simple winter clothing which would be one of the earliest designs for Kiki and Lala. After finishing the design, Matsumoto looked over the drawing but felt something was missing and that the two needed something added to them to further stick out. The designer thought about what to make her design more Christmas-like by thinking of things that reminded people of Christmas. From Santa, to reindeer, to Christmas Trees, Matsumoto eventually settled with including stars.
Matsumoto added a star onto the boy's back and drew the girl a star wand for her to hold. The star would give the ability of flight and the wand would allow snacks and candies to be summoned at anytime while also working like a compass to guide the boy and girl where to fly. She also redesigned the twins to give them features akin to Kiki and Lala's current appearance with the differences being Kiki was slimmer and Lala had shorter hair. Kiki's hair was inspired by a mushroom cut Matsumoto had recently seen a young boy in town wearing.
After being created, Little Twin Stars were first introduced in the Strawberry News, a monthly Sanrio magazine. As Kiki and Lala became more popular, they quickly became popular with readers, who wanted to know much more about them. Back then however the twins didn't have an official name and were simply referred to as "the Twin Stars" or "the Charmers".
It was then decided to let the readers of Strawberry News decide the names for the twins. Thousands of letters were sent in by readers with all kinds of suggestions for names. Some possible names included Larry and Lilly, and Luie and Lorie. After some time, the twins were finally named Kiki and Lala. Yasuko Matsumoto continued to answer readers' curious questions and show more of the star-shaped world the twins reside in.
One evening when the stars were very beautiful, two little baby twin stars were born in the Land of Stars.
One baby star was a boy who was named Kiki and the other, a girl, was named Lala.
Both of them were full of energy and grew up in good health. However, their parents loved them a little too much which caused them to become a bit spoiled. The father star soon realized this was a problem and after a talk with the mother star, they decided the best thing to do was to send them down to earth. Since they were always looking down on earth from the clouds, Kiki and Lala's parents knew there were many challenges and sad things on the planet, but knew being on earth would help them learn to take care of themselves and shine brightly like they were meant to.
Kiki and Lala's mother tied a large star on Kiki with a ribbon which would allow him to fly around and carry Kiki and his sister across the sky. Their father gave Lala a wand with a guiding star attached to it and told her that if the wand is moved in a circle, snacks will appear. It would also help guide them on their journey much like a compass. The twins were also given a soft, puffy cloud to sleep on when they were tired. In addition to being a place for the twins to rest their heads, it can also change it's size and shape, clean things, and fix objects.
Kiki and Lala were very sad to leave home and had no idea what adventures lay ahead. They were worried but also excited about going to Earth. The twins promised their parents they would work and help together, and then they set off on their journey...
- Little Twin Stars have had a vinyl record containing two songs based on them released in 1977 under Sanrio Record. Those songs have been re-released onto a 2017 compilation album, including past vinyls also released by the record label.
With Family and Friends
- Little Twin Stars Character Profile on Sanrio.co.jp
- History of Little Twin Stars on Sanrio.co.jp
- Little Twin Stars: Q and A on Sanrio.co.jp
- December 2016 Calendar on Sanrio.com
- Little Twin Stars Products on Sanrio.com
- Little Twin Stars Goodies on Sanrio.com
- Little Twin Stars Timeline on Sanrio.com
- Little Twin Stars Ranking on SanrioCharacterRanking.com via Archive.org (2016)
- Blog about Kiki & Lala: Vintage goodies, pictures (English) on Canalblog.com
- Origin was sourced from an interview with the designer Yasuko Matsumoto which appeared in the 40th Anniversary Little Twin Stars Art Book and Sanrio Design: 70s & 80s
- Backstory sourced from A Story of Little Twin Stars, a book which was included in a special anniversary set, originally in Japanese.