twins height difference split

Being a twin is already special... but the height difference between these Japanese twins makes them even more unique.

There's a staggering 75 cm (2 ft 5.5 in) between sisters Yoshie and Michie Kikuchi, who live in Okayama, Japan, meaning they've bagged the Guinness World Records title for the greatest height differential in living non-identical twins (female).

Yoshie and Michie Kikuchi

While Yoshie's height is 162.5 cm (5 ft 4 in), Michie stands at 87.5 cm (2 ft 10.5 in), setting them apart by a whooping 75 cm!

The Kikuchi sisters - fraternal twins, a result of the fertilisation of two separate eggs - were born on 15 October 1989. Michie has a condition called congenital spinal epiphyseal dysplasia, a bone disorder that prevents her from growing.

Michie lives at her parents' home, which is also a temple headed up by her father, the chief priest. She helps with the day-to-day running of the temple. 

Yoshie, on the other hand, has moved out of the family home and has become a mother herself. She still spends plenty of time at home with her parents and sister though.

Michie was once an introverted character, partly because she felt insecure about her appearance. However, that mindset started to change when she found out about Chandra Bahadur Dangi, the shortest man ever.

Yoshie and Michie Kikuchi shortly after birth

After reading his story, she even began to wonder if she could earn a record title herself. 

She said: "I read about the shortest man back in 2012 and I was shocked. There's a man out there showcasing his short height as a virtue, while I was being shy about my condition."

Michie was too tall to be recognized as the world's shortest woman, but she realized that the height difference between her and her twin made them extremely unique.

In order to officially secure the record, Yoshie and Michie's heights were measured three times in the morning, at lunchtime, and in the evening, and a qualified doctor was in place to make sure the readings were accurate.

While a GWR title is a big upside, being short does come with some inconveniences for Michie. 

Michie Kikuchi getting her height measured

Even just washing her hands can be a struggle because taps are out of her reach, and if people are stood around her chatting, she can sometimes struggle to hear the conversation.

"And their spit falls on me!" Michie laughed.

In her free time, Michie enjoys creating tatting lace. She also loves playing video games, especially with her sister and her younger relatives.

Although Yoshie and Michie are twins, they say that they are the complete opposite of one other.

"We are not telepathetic. I always tell Michie to talk to me or otherwise I won't get it," Yoshie said. 

"Michie likes to dress pink to a level I cannot comprehend, and I like darker colours. While Michie cries easily, I'm short tempered and get angry easily. When we used go to a picnic with lunchboxes, I give Michie food that I don't like and she does the same, then we both end up with our favourite food."

Yoshie and Michie Kikuchi in their youth

Despite their differences - and the odd disagreement - they get along well. 

And while they may sometimes fight with each other, both sisters will step up to defend the other when needed.

Michie was sometimes bullied in school, but her sister, who was in a different class, would run to her rescue every time.

Although Michie's parents were given a lot of information about her health condition when she was diagnosed, Michie has gone through life trying not to think about it too much. 

Michie Kikuchi smiling

The biggest struggle for Michie is the nasty comments she sometimes gets from complete strangers. "If they just look at me, I'm okay, but if they point at me or mention about my looks, it can be tough," she said.

Yoshie, on the other hand, doesn't see illness in her sister. She said: "I've been with her for a long time, and I don't recognize her as someone disabled. She's alive and a same human being, just like anyone else."

Now Guinness World Records holders, Yoshie and Michie want to give courage to people with physical conditions.

Yoshie and Michie Kikuchi holding an official Guinness World Records certificate

"There are many people living with different physical conditions. As soon as you label them and pigeonhole them, discrimination begins. By having a world record, I want to show that there are people like me living a good life, and others with the same condition can do the same." - Michie Kikuchi

And when asked about the benefits of being a special twin, the sisters answered: "Like the moment we are in right now. If we didn't have this trait, this day wouldn't have come!"

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