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Looking Back @ Michael Jackson's Japan Visit

Webmaster's note: The following article about Michael Jackson first appear in Dan Smith’s Almost Daily Blog in February 2009.

It seems everywhere you look on television these days much of the entertainment talk is about Michael Jackson’s London comeback concerts. Whether Jackson would ever take the stage again has never been a question for his die-hard fans.

The question was always, what country he would do it in?

Up until the London announcement, my bet was Japan. It wasn’t just wishful thinking on my part, but because I feel Japan was the place where Jackson’s career got back on track… or at least the public perception of him.

You might remember that Jackson came to Japan briefly for the 2006 MTV Video Music Awards Japan and then returned again the following year for an 11-day stay where he attended a VIP Party held in appreciation of the 25th Anniversary of his Thriller album and also a Fan Appreciation event where the gloved met individually with all the fans in attendance. Jackson also visited with U.S. military troops and their families at Camp Zama, Japan.

The Access E clip of the visit on YouTube has garnered over 300 comments and nearly 90,000 viewers.


That Japan visit also played well in the international media as well witness this clip from CBS, which were similar to ones that ran on ABC and other major U.S. and world television networks.


Yes that is FOX Backstage Pass Ako you see shaking hands with Michael at the 18-second mark... and yes that is me backing up filming Michael as he arrived at Narita Airport.

I was there at the behest of Michael and the guy who brought him to Japan for both occasions -- Broderick Morris, CEO of Positive Productions -- to film Michael exclusively for the duration of his 11-day stay. The result was my FOX television special, "Fan-demonium: Chasing Michael Jackson."

There are a lot of people taking credit in the media for bringing Michael back in the spotlight but Broderick should be at the head of that list for having the courage to book Michael when others were shying away. And it was for that reason that I had hoped Broderick -- and Japan -- would get to host the King of Pop's comback concerts.

I'll leave that debate for another day but it was another news item involving Michael that caught my attention. I saw a CNN report talking about an auction of Michael's memorabilia from his Neverland Ranch.

The report showed several unique items being auctioned. One of those was a life-size statue of Superman. I nearly jumped out of my seat because this was the same statue that I had coaxed Michael to pose with while I was filming him during a shopping trip he made to Bic Camera in Yurakucho.

I was filming him shopping when I glanced to my right and noticed the statue. I immediately thought how cool it would be if Michael posed with the statue. I was reluctant to ask him at first because at the time he had a security guy was just a tad too protective. But you know what? I figured the worse he could say is no.... or fire me as the video guy.

But to Michael's credit, he posed with zeal and even mimicked the Mand of Steel right down to his signature pose. His kids, who were in Bic Camera with him at the time, loved it. The Bic Camera guys seemed to love it also -- so much so that when Michael inquired as to whether the statue was for sale -- they were happy to oblige him.

Thanks to my super slueth buddy Dave Spector, I was able to track down an image of the Superman.


This was shot during one of the few quiet moments during Michael's stay in Japan.