The Momo Challenge YouTube rumors have been confirmed to be a hoax — there’s been no evidence that Momo videos ever showed up on official Peppe Pig or other children’s show videos. In fact, the only videos we did see were created to take advantage of the hype, with Momo spliced into a ripped Peppa Pig video and later uploaded to the Internet. But there was a real Momo Bird statue upon which the photo was based. The statue, called Mother Bird, was on display for years and someone took a photo of the sculpture on Instagram. Someone else ripped off that photo and turned it into the Momo profile. Now the creator of the sculpture, Keisuke Aiso, has announced that he destroyed the sculpture last year. Momo is dead, the artist said.
1. Keisuke Aiso Created the Mother Bird Sculpture for Link Factory. It Was On Display at the Vanilla Gallery in 2016.
Keisuke Aso (referenced by some sources as Keisuke Aisawa) created the Momo sculpture for Link Factory, a special effects company in Japan. But it wasn’t called Momo. It was called Mother Bird. In 2016, it was on display in the Between Mirrors exhibit at Vanilla Gallery. This photo was posted in July 2018 by Between Mirrors at the Vanilla Gallery:
The Vanilla Gallery, located in downtown Tokyo, told The Sun that they host an exhibition every summer. That year, Mother Bird was in the entrance.
2. A Photo Taken of His Sculpture Was Cropped & Turned into the Momo Profile
And here’s the photo, taken of that display, which appears to be where the Momo profile came from. They cropped the photo and used it for the Momo profile.
The sculpture itself was created by Link Factory and designed by Keisuke Aso. Here are some other exhibits from Link Factory:
3. Aiso, 43, Said He Had Destroyed the Sculpture Before He Even Knew About Momo, Because It Had Gotten Old
But you won’t be able to find the Momo/Mother Bird statue on display anymore. Its creator destroyed it.
The artist behind Mother Bird, Keisuke Aiso, told The Sun that he’s thrown the artwork away. Keisuke Aiso, 43, said he felt responsible for the image and what happened. Now, he said, Momo is dead. “It was rotten and I threw it away,” he told The Sun after they found him at his workshop just outside Tokyo.
“The children can be reassured Momo is dead – she doesn’t exist and the curse is gone.”
But he didn’t destroy the sculpture because of Momo, he explained. The model was made of rubber and natural oils and it got old. It had to be thrown away. Only the left eye is left, which he will put into a different model. In fact, he told The Sun that he had thrown Mother Bird away before he even knew about how the image had been hijacked for the Momo hoax.
4. Aiso, Whose Workshop Is Just Outside Tokyo, Said the Momo Mask Was Purchased in Mexico. The Sculpture Was Inspired by a Ghost Story About a Woman Who Died in Childbirth.
He said he used a cheap mask for Momo that was purchased in Mexico for the Day of the Dead. The whole thing was falling apart by the time he tossed it.
Aiso said he’s upset about how the work was used, but glad that his work has now been seen around the world. He told The Sun:
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… I guess I have to be grateful in that sense…”
He said that when the artwork was on display, it didn’t get much attention and he was disappointed. But, he added, Momo isn’t his masterpiece work.
The inspiration for Momo, he told The Sun, was a Japanese ghost story about a woman dying in childbirth. In the story, she turns into a bird woman and haunts the area where she died. “When I created the piece … I had every intention to scare people. It is a monster, that’s what I do. I make scary things either using make-up or models.”
But, he added, it was never supposed to be used in the way that it was.
5. He & Other Artists Have Gotten Death Threats Over Momo
Aiso 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. He said he’s been creating pieces for more than 20 years.
Some artists, he told The Sun, received death threats because of the Momo image. He and some artists in Tokyo were threatened. Another artist, mistaken for being the creator, got death threats and disturbing messages online, he said.
“I feel bad for her, but now I am getting the messages too. They say I will kill you and you should die, in both English and Japanese,” he told The Sun.
One of the artists who likely received threats was Japanese artist Midori Hayashi. Early Internet reports wrongly indicated that Hayashi had created the figure. But she did not. 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:
So now we know that the Momo statue – aka Mother Bird – is gone due to old age. If you were hoping to track it down in real life, you’ve run out of time.