How Did I Miss That: When Michael Jackson Met Isao Tomita


Remember the time… Michael Jackson visited Isao Tomita in Japan during his Bad tour and got wasted on sake? Nah, me neither.

It would have been Michael Jackson’s 56th birthday this year, it’s already 5 years since his passing in June and yet there is still so much we don’t know about the King of Pop or we’ve forgotten because the media have forwarded their own agenda (let me rein in my fan mode feelings for a minute). One particular story that missed the radar was the tale of Mike visiting Japanese composer Isao Tomita, a familiar name to J Dilla fans. According to this story via a MJ forum, when Michael toured Japan in 1987, he was invited to dinner at the composer’s house and offered a cup of Sake. The translator told Mike beforehand the Japanese tradition of eating and drinking until your plate and glass was empty. The cup being so small, MJ knowing the purity of the rice wine and not wanting to offend, he knocked back glass after glass until he couldn’t take anymore and subsequently passed his receptacle under the table to the translator, who drank the wine and passed it back to look like Michael had drunk it. Politeness and intelligence while intoxicated on Japanese rice wine. Unfathomable.

Below is a video of The King of Pop in Tomita’s studio playing around with one of his synths. It was rumoured they had arranged to collaborate but this unfortunately never came to be, which is a mighty shame as that would have been sampling gold at the very least.

About Luke Alex Davis

Luke Davis is a music producer and editor of music blog Sampleface. In his spare time, he enjoys watching tennis and football and reading.