independent: The statue had already rotted into an even more terrifying state than the original image, according to the Japanese artist who created it, and it was thrown away in the wake of the first round of fear about the “Momo challenge”.
In recent days, parents and others across the country became terrified of the so-called Momo challenge, which reports suggested involved the horrifying character – with large bulging eyes and a strange smile – contacting children and encouraging them to take part in dangerous, self-harming and even suicidal behaviour.
There were no reports of the Momo challenge actually being widespread, and the panic appears to have been the result of misleading reports that were shared across Facebook and other social networks. But it nonetheless became hugely popular, with MPs asking about the phenomenon in parliament and schools sending worrying letters to parents.
Now the statue’s original creator has said that any children or parents should not be worried because the horrifying sculpture – which included a bird’s body at the bottom, removed in many of the photographs – had been thrown in the bin.
“It doesn’t exist anymore, it was never meant to last,” sculptor Keisuke Aiso told The Sun. “It was rotten and I threw it away.
“The children can be reassured Momo is dead – she doesn’t exist and the curse is gone.”
The original Momo sculpture had been created for an exhibition of scary artworks in Japan. As such, Mr Aiso said he had meant the original statue to be horrifying – but that he had not meant for it to become such a phenomenon, and that it had caused him some trouble.
“On one hand they have caused me nothing but trouble, but on the other hand as an artist I have a little sense of appreciation that my art piece has been seen across the world.”
The recent explosion of interest in Momo was actually the second time the sculpture went viral internationally, after a flurry of interest from South America last summer, during which similar urban myths were shared. The “Momo” statue was destroyed in the wake of that interest, Mr Aiso said – and looked even more terrifying at that point than it did in pictures.
“I threw it away and a week after the whole thing blew up,” he told The Sun.
“It was falling apart, so it’s probably for the best.
“If you’d have seen it in the state it was in, it would have probably looked even more terrifying.”