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TOKYO - Fifty of Michael Jackson's most devoted fans will mark the first anniversary of his death in a R7500-a-ticket Tokyo slumber party with the pop icon's most treasured possessions.
They will curl up in sleeping bags tomorrow night in the exhibition space that displays Jackson's crystal-studded gloves, concert costumes, awards and some 300 other possessions of the late King of Pop.
The 50 admirers - one for each year of Jackson's life - were chosen from some 10000 applicants who wanted to spend the night in the Neverland Collection at Tokyo Tower, said exhibit producer Matt Taylor.
The proceeds of R7500 each for the 10.30pm to 8am sleepover will go to Jackson's family estate and his children, he said.
"It's going to be a wonderful night for the 50 people who get to stay with Michael's most cherished possessions, the things that were closest to him," Taylor said, adding that several non-Japanese are among the chosen ones.
More than 500000 visitors have filed through the exhibit since it opened on May 1, and Jackson look-a-likes and Moonwalk-dancers have turned up at what has turned into a pilgrimage spot for die-hard fans.
The dimly lit space hosts a glittering yet sombre exhibition of many of Jackson's favourite objects on the ground floor of Tokyo Tower, a red-and-white landmark reminiscent in design of the Paris Eiffel Tower.
The large gold sign from Jackson's "Neverland" ranch welcomes fans to the show, which also boasts Jackson's 1967 Rolls Royce Phantom, an antique piano and a line-up of golden discs, industry trophies and awards.
Many fans are deeply touched when they come face-to-face with the iconic objects, said Taylor, producer of the show.
"We see even young people who never had an opportunity to see Michael Jackson in person in tears and deeply emotional," he said.
The fans who bought the sleep-over tickets were asked for assurances in telephone interviews that they are physically and emotionally fit to handle what will be a deeply moving event for them, he said.
"There has been actually recognised depression, called 'Michael Jackson depression syndrome'," Taylor said.
"We are very concerned about the emotional wellbeing of people on the first anniversary of Michael's passing."
Among the fans visibly shaken by the exhibit was 16-year-old Fumiaki Hocchi.
"It makes all the difference to see these things with my own eyes ... It was very emotional for me to see things from Michael's house. It's so sad he is no longer with us and we can't see him perform anymore," he said.
Jackson has long enjoyed deep fan loyalty in Japan even as he struggled with sexual and financial scandals elsewhere in the world.
This is It - the posthumous documentary of behind-the-scenes footage from what was going to be Jackson's comeback tour - became a blockbuster.
Cinemas are set to screen the film again. Japan will also kick off the international release of Michael Jackson: Inside the Private World, with previously unreleased footage.
Other special events are scheduled for the first anniversary of his death tomorrow - an event that falls on the morning of June 26 in Japan. - Sapa-AFP