This handout picture taken in August 2016 and received by AFP from Japanese artist Keisuke Aiso on March 4, 2019 shows the silicon-based sculpture Momo, created by the artist, on display in Tokyo. Keisuke Aiso, the Japanese artist behind the images that sparked the recent viral "momo challenge" hoax told AFP on March 4, 2019 that he destroyed the creepy doll long ago and never meant to harm anyone.
AFP photo courtesy of Keisuke Aiso
Sculptor of 'Momo' says he destroyed doll used in hoax challenge
(Agence France-Presse) - March 5, 2019 - 3:55pm

TOKYO, Japan — The Japanese artist behind the images that sparked the recent viral "Momo challenge" hoax said he destroyed the creepy doll long ago and never meant to harm anyone.

The scary image with googly eyes and a pained expression was based on a Japanese ghost called "ubume"—of a woman who dies during childbirth, explained Keisuke Aiso, head of Tokyo-based firm LINK FACTORY, which makes props for TV dramas.

The silicon-based sculpture, which stands about one meter high, was first shown at a ghost-themed exhibition in Tokyo's swanky Ginza district in 2016 but attracted little attention at the time.

It was one of many ghost-themed sculptures in Aiso's repertoire and the artist said: "It was meant to scare people, yes, but it wasn't meant to harm anyone."

Aiso, 43, destroyed the sculpture last year because it began to deteriorate. "That was nothing to do with the recent case," he stressed.

The terrifying image has been at the center of a viral hoax, as reports surfaced that children were being induced by "momo" into dangerous tasks and even self-harm and suicide.

However, there is no evidence this is true and the myth seems to have been propagated mainly by concerned parents via social media.

Aiso appeared bemused by the reports and told Agence France-Presse: "I'd be happy if such a challenge never existed."

MOMO CHALLENGE
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