Asia Mourns Jackson

Michael Jackson’s death June 25 was met with shock throughout Asia, which woke up to the news the next morning.

Japan, which Jackson chose for his first public appearance following his acquittal for child molestation in 2006, mourned the singer in grand style, with dozens of TV specials that stressed how Jackson often referred to the archipelago as his second home.

Several TV stations uncovered video footage of a previously undisclosed meeting between Jackson and some unnamed entrepreneurs several years ago.

The entrepreneurs were negotiating with the singer to open a Michael Jackson theme park and skating rink and possibly market a line of Michael Jackson toys.

Apparently, the negotiations never got any further. Also, Sony International said it received “record orders” for Jackson’s CD on the day he died, which was convenient since the label had planned to re-release his entire catalogue on July 8 in commemoration of the London comeback concerts. During the week after his death, Jackson’s albums filled up the Top 10 slots on Amazon Japan’s sales charts.

Within days, pirates in China were selling a commemorative double-DVD set titled “Complete 50 Year Record” including Jackson’s video hits as well as footage of concerts filmed in Romania and Japan.

Video stores throughout the country said the DVDs sold out almost instantly. Even official Communist Party newspaper People’s Daily mourned Jackson with a special page consisting of white characters on a black background.

And in less than 48 hours, two Chinese writers produced an “instant” biography of Jackson titled “Moonwalk in Paradise,” which is already on bookshelves in China. Neither writer ever met the singer.

In Taiwan, news of Jackson’s death coincided with the 20th annual Golden Melody Awards, which is often called the Chinese-language equivalent of the Grammys.

A tribute was given to Jackson during the award ceremony on June 27, where Jay Chou won the best male singer award and Eason Chan took the prize for the best Mandarin dialect album of the year.