- Title: JAPAN: Japaese fans go without sleep to remember the King of Pop
- Date: 26th June 2010
- Summary: (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) CHIE YAMAMURA, 45-YEAR-OLD HOUSEWIFE AND PARTICIPANT OF THE EVENT, SAYING "I brought my sleeping-bag, but I don't think I'm going to sleep tonight. I'll just stay awake sitting beside him."
- Embargoed: 11th July 2010 13:00
- Location: Japan
- Country: Japan
- Reuters ID: LVA75EIRNP9NCR7IWDV8BMFV7LXG
- Story Text: Michael Jackson fans in Tokyo lit candles and offered flowers on Friday (June 25) to mark the death one year ago of the controversial pop star whose posthumous popularity has returned him to a pedestal and made him a billion dollar man.
50 Japanese admirers -- one for each year of his life -- were picked from thousands of applicants to spend a night at Tokyo Tower among the singer's possessions in the Neverland Collection, the only official Michael Jackson exhibition.
"In Japanese culture it's very important to remember the person on their anniversary of the passing," said Matt Taylor, president of Juliana's Urban Development Group, who offered the event, "one night with Michael."
"We had more than 10,000 people applied to be here this night in reflection of Michael Jackson. We narrow that down to 50. They flew in from all over Asia, Europe. We have 50 people here who have been selected, and they're going to enjoy the evening with special entertainment and being able to count down to the hour of Michael Jackson's passing which was 6:26 a.m. here in Japan," said Taylor.
Fans, mostly women in 30s and 40s, met their adoring star through his possessions and memorabilia amid live violin tunes and gospel chorus of his songs.
Fans were told to bring their sleeping-bags for the night, but some didn't feel like to use them at all.
"I brought my sleeping-bag, but I don't think I'm going to sleep tonight. I'll just stay awake sitting beside him," said Chie Yamamura, a 45-year-old fan of Michael from Gifu, 400 km (249 miles) west of Tokyo.
Thanking to their loved star was one of the things fans would do during the long night.
"I was lucky to have Michael," a 40-year-old businesswoman Yumi Sakuma told Reuters as she soothing her friend whose face was bathed in tears.
Jackson's sudden death at age 50 on June 25 last year in Los Angeles sparked an outpouring of grief internationally for the former child star, who was rehearsing for a series of concerts aimed at reviving a career shattered by bizarre events as an adult and acquittal on charges of molesting a 13-year-old boy.
Hollywood trade paper Billboard estimated Jackson's earnings in the past year have hit $1 billion, including album sales generating about $383 million and revenue from the film "This Is It" hitting nearly $400 million.
The Official Charts Company, which compiles record sales in Britain, said Jackson sold more records than any other artist in the last 12 months.
His sales of 2.77 million albums outstripped Michael Buble's 2.0 million. Including singles, Jackson's sales in Britain reached 4.31 million for the year since his death. "Man in the Mirror" topped singles sales, followed by "Billie Jean."
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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