In Tokyo, 50 Japanese admirers — one for each year of his life – have been picked to spend a night at Tokyo Tower among the singer’s possessions in the Neverland Collection, the only official Michael Jackson exhibition. They were chosen from among 10,000 applicants who vied for the honour.
Hiroyuki Takamura of the Tokyo Tower says the event may sound a bit odd to Western cultures, but in Japan, the tradition of being with the remains and possessions of passed loved ones on the anniversary of their passing is an important ritual.
Across the Pacific in Los Angeles, thousands of fans are expected to descend on Forest Lawn Memorial Park, where the pop star’s remains and his golden casket lay entombed in a mausoleum.
Jackson’s brother Randy said he planned to attend the memorial at Forest Lawn.
“My family and I will be in attendance as we mourn the loss of my brother,” he said in a statement Thursday. “I would like to thank the fans and friends for their continued love, support and prayers.”
Park authorities have said they plan to keep a tight grip on the memorial, saying visitors will only be allowed to walk past the mausoleum, lay down flowers or other tributes, and then leave.
According to local media reports, fans had already begun arriving at the cemetery late Thursday despite warnings from police that overnight camping at the location would be banned.
In the family hometown of Gary, Indiana, Jackson’s mother, Katherine Jackson, 80, will hold the only “official” Jackson memorial. She plans to unveil a monument outside the humble house where Jackson and his seven brothers and sisters were raised and where they began their singing career half a century ago.
A memorial and candlelight vigil will follow, ending with the song “We are the World.” Jackson’s children — Prince, 13, Paris, 12, and Blanket, 8 — are expected to mark the anniversary privately in Gary.
A Jackson tribute event, “Forever Michael,” will be held at a Beverly Hills hotel on Saturday, organized by Jackson’s father, Joe. Other members of Jackson’s family are expected to attend the event, to be joined by others willing to spend the money on tickets, priced between $150 and $500.
“The vision is to bring together Michael Jackson family members, celebrities, fans, supporters and the community to celebrate and honor his legacy,” a statement from the organizers said.
The Apollo Theater in Harlem, N.Y., where a young Michael Jackson and his brothers won an amateur night contest decades ago, plans to host a commemoration Friday of Jackson’s life in front of the recently installed plaque honouring him.
Later in the afternoon in Harlem, Rev. Al Sharpton and his National Action Network will hold a moment of silence around the hour of Jackson’s death.
“He meant a lot to us of all races in terms of bringing us together in another kind of spirit,” Sharpton said. “I wanted to make sure that we showed that in the middle of all this that is going on in the world that Michael is someone that we would all stop for… He was more than just a singer; he was a social force and a sense of inspiration.”
Jackson died from a prescription drug overdose at a rented Los Angeles mansion on June 25 last year, as he was in the midst of rehearsals for a series of London concerts aimed at reviving his shattered career.
The L.A. County coroner’s office later determined the cause of death was “acute propofol intoxication” in combination with the use of sedatives. Jackson’s personal doctor, Conrad Murray, was charged in February with involuntary manslaughter in connection with the death.
One year later, the pop star whose finances were disarray at this death, is enjoying new fortunes — or at least, his estate is.
Music industry trade paper Billboard recently estimated that Jackson’s earnings in the past year have hit US$1 billion. That includes album sales of $383 million. As well, revenue from the film “This Is It” hit nearly $400 million.