The deadly "Momo Challenge", which has kept the cyber security experts across the world on their toes over the past few weeks, has more Japanese connect than you can think of.
The challenge uses a grotesque image of a girl with bulging eyes The character of the girl, "Momo", is inspired from a Japanese light novel, "Ballad of Shinigami", written by Japanese author K-Ske Hasegawa. It centers around a young girl named "Momo", who is a "shinigami", which in Japenese means "the girl god of death".
Momo leads the souls, once the souls leaves the bodies, to "the other side". She carries with her a large scythe and tries to "ease suffering of the people" she encounters whether they are living or dead.
The novel has eerie similarity to the online "Momo challenge" which ends with the player committing suicide.
The online challenge mainly targets teenagers on WhatsApp. The players in the message are challenged to do some tasks - usually self-harm - and record it on the phone. If they refuse, they are sent "aggressive images" and threats that their near and dear ones will be targeted.
The challenge uses the picture of half-woman-half-bird creature "Momo", inspired by the artwork created by Japanese artist Midori Hayashi. After the online challenge turned fatal for several people across the world, the artist, however, clarified that she is in no way related to the deadly challenge.
One of the first Momo Challenge death was reported from Argentina. A 12-year-old girl filmed the tasks assigned to her on the phone before committing suicide.
In India, after two deaths were linked with the game in West Bengal, several state police authorities were prompted to issue warnings.
The West Bengal CID on Tuesday, however, clarified that the death of 18-year-old Manish Sarki and 26-year-old Aditi Goyal from Kurseong had no connection with the deadly game.
"It is easy to send such messages from unknown numbers. People should not panic. We are investigating to see if someone is deliberately spreading such panic," said Nishat Parvez, DIG (Operations), CID West Bengal.
The CID also issued an advisory on Tuesday asking parents to immediately inform police if they find their children involved in any such act.
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