If you’ve been following the Momo Challenge story at all, then you’ve likely heard that the creepy photo originally came from a ‘Mother Bird’ statue. But despite some Internet reports, it did NOT originate from Midori Hayashi. Read more here. (If you want to read about the Peppa Pig controversy, please see Heavy’s story here.)
Early Internet reports indicated that Japanese artist Midori Hayashi had created the figure shown in the Momo Challenge photo. But she did not. This information is inaccurate. Hayashi’s current bio on Facebook reads: “That article is a fake news. I didn’t create “Mother Bird”. Je n’ai pas créé de poupée “momo”.”
Hayashi does create some interesting figurines utilizing dolls, but she did not create the statute whose photo is now synonymous with the Momo Challenge. Here are some examples of Hayashi’s work:
The Momo photo is actually called the Mother Bird statue. It was created by Link Factory. In 2016, it was on display in the Between Mirrors exhibit at Vanilla Gallery. This photo was posted in July 2018:
Now there’s fallout about the statue, even though Link Factory and others who helped create it have no connection at all to the Momo Challenge. One person wrote on Instagram, “I feel so bad for the person that made this. It’s honestly an awesome piece, but now there’s so much FUD going around the internet. I don’t know who made it, but my heart goes out to them… I hope they don’t feel responsible or bad for the bull**** stories going around. :( <3”
Here’s another photo:
The Momo photo itself appears to be a cropped version of the picture above, which was posted to Instagram in August 2016 by j_s_rock. This photo was shared while the sculpture was in an art gallery in Ginza in Tokyo as part of an exhibit about ghosts and specters.
The sculpture itself was created by Link Factory, a Japanese special effects company, according to 9News. It was designed by Keisuke Aisawa.
Here are some other exhibits and works of art Link Factory has created.
Keisuka Aisawa of Link Factory, who reportedly created the Mother Bird statue, creates prosthetic materials like artificial skins for humanoid robots and helped create the first full-size love doll made in silicon, according to Vanilla Gallery’s translated page. He mostly creates for variety shows, movies, and special events.
The photo got a lot of attention when it was shared to Reddit’s r/creepy subreddit in July 2018. The post did not mention Momo at all, so it’s possible it was shared before The Momo Challenge began or at least before it had gotten much attention. The photo was shared by u/AlmightySosa00 about seven months ago. The user is no longer on Reddit and the account has been suspended.
It’s not clear why the account was suspended.
Link Factory and Aisawa are not connected to the Momo Challenge. The originator of the challenge isn’t currently known.
If you want to read about the Peppa Pig controversy, please see Heavy’s story here.