TOKYO (Reuters) - Want to spend a night with Michael Jackson’s possessions? The Japanese promoter of a collection of his belongings on display in Tokyo can make that dream come true on the first anniversary of the pop icon’s death. Starting Sunday, fans in Japan are expected to line up for the chance to spend one night inside the Neverland Collection at the Tokyo Tower, which to many is a shrine to the sacred memory of their idol.
More than 300,000 people have flocked to the central Tokyo landmark since the opening of the world’s only official Michael Jackson exhibition on May 1.
Jackson’s death on June 25, 2009 from cardiac arrest at the age of 50 shocked fans around the world and sparked a new wave of interest in his music, while a documentary film featuring the singer, “This Is It,” became a blockbuster cinema hit.
The “King of Pop” was almost as well-known for his compulsive collecting as his songs.
“The idea 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,” said Hiroyuki Takamura of the Tokyo Tower.
Fans who are selected at random will enter the Tokyo Tower venue from 10:30 p.m. on the night of June 25, and will be able to stay until 8:00 a.m. the next morning.
“The chance to spend the anniversary of Michael’s passing together with things like clothes he wore, things from his home, countless awards, and iconic video and stage sets will be an unforgettable experience,” said Michael Jackson fan Mamiko Morii, who expects to be in line on Sunday.
“I have been to this exhibition more than eight times already and each time I feel more connected to Michael’s legacy.”
Guests will pay up to $1,000 for the one-time opportunity to sleep on the floor among Michael’s belongings.
“Michael Jackson fans religiously visited daily, and many stay inside the venue for six hours or more,” said Matt Taylor, producer of the exhibition.
“Many Japanese fans become overwhelmed with emotion when in the presence of so many things precious to Michael and iconic to the rest of the world. People stand fixed in front of artifacts with tears streaming down their face, still trying to come to grips with losing Michael.”
Writing by Sugita Katyal; Editing by Miral Fahmy