Michael Jackson Party With His Less Affluent Fans

After a $3,500-a-head gala the day before, Michael Jackson attended another party in Tokyo for his less affluent fans, more than 1,000 of whom crowded a popular nightclub Friday for an evening with the reclusive pop star.

Tickets for Friday's party went for $130, a fraction of the $3,500 that several hundred fans and business people paid for a chance to meet and greet Jackson the night before at a dinner held in his honor.

Jackson offered only brief remarks at the end of that six-hour party and did not perform.

At Friday's party, guests - most in the 20s or 30s - were treated to a stage show of gospel singers, Michael Jackson impersonators, but were not given the one-on-one opportunity that "premium" ticket partygoers got the night before. Jackson watched the show from a second-floor VIP room.

Japan remains one of Jackson's strongest fan bases, and Jackson fans have been out in force since his arrival in Tokyo on Sunday.

A screaming mob greeted him at the airport and more crowded outside a popular electronics shop that gave him the run of the store after-hours the following day. Before leaving Japan, Jackson was also scheduled to tour a U.S. Army base just south of Tokyo on Saturday.

Jackson, one of the bestselling artists of all time, had lived abroad since his 2005 acquittal on child molestation charges, forsaking his Neverland Ranch in California for Bahrain, France and a castle in Ireland. He now lives in Las Vegas.

This is Jackson's second trip to Tokyo in less than a year.

"Japan is one of my favourite places to visit in the world," Jackson told the crowd Thursday, reading from a statement. "I want to thank all of you for making me the biggest-selling artist in Japan."

In comments to The Associated Press, Jackson said he is happy with his career, which he is trying to revive after his 2005 acquittal and a series of other legal battles over his personal finances.

"I've been in the entertainment industry since I was six years old," he told AP. "As Charles Dickens says, 'It's been the best of times, the worst of times.' But I would not change my career."

Jackson, 48, said he was not bitter over his succession of difficulties.

"While some have made deliberate attempts to hurt me, I take it in stride because I have a loving family, a strong faith and wonderful friends and fans who have, and continue, to support me," he said.

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