Fans were already paying tribute early morning Friday at a museum dedicated to the musician in Yono, 15 miles north of Tokyo. The museum, built in a corner of a huge arena, was approved by Yoko Ono, Lennon's widow, who was present for its opening on Oct. 9 - which would have been Lennon's 60th birthday.
In London, Beatles co-frontman Paul McCartney said he planned on marking the anniversary of Lennon's death the best way he knows how - making music.
He said he'll be thinking of all the great times they had together and remembering Lennon with "all the love in my heart."
He said it was shocking to think it's been 20 years since Lennon was killed outside his New York City apartment by Mark David Chapman, but Lennon would be happy to learn about the enduring popularity of the Beatles' music.
"He had woven himself and his music and his thinking into the fabric of our lives," author Sid Bernstein said.
Although his experimnts with the avant-garde near the end of his life put a distance between Lennon and some of his admirers, time has narrowed the gap.
"At the time he died - in a way - he moved away from our thinking. He moved away form us physically," Lennon biographer Hunter Davis said. "So it's all the more remarkable now that 20 years later the further we get from John and the Beatles the bigger they become."
A new compilation of Beatles greatest hits called "1" is currently approaching the million sales mark in Britain - just a month after its release - and is topping most record charts.
An English Heritage blue plaque was unveiled Friday at the former Beatle's childhood home where he taught himself to play the guitar.
Members of Lennon's family, childhood friends, members of his first band, The Quarrymen, and musicians from Liverpool-based groups, including Gerry and the Pacemakers, attended the short ceremony at 251, Menlove Street in Woolton, Liverpool.
It was the first time a British pop musician has been honored with a Heritage plaque, which are awarded for lifetime achievement.
At a separate ceremony to honor Lennon on Friday, a statue of a bronze revolver with its barrel tied in a knot was unveiled at a shopping center near the site of the original Cavern Club, the Beatles' old haunt in Liverpool.
Twenty similar statues have been erected across the world, including one at the United Nations in New York.
"John Lennon used his music to promote peace and non-violence," said Michael Nobel, chairman of the Non-Violence Foundation which sponsored the statue. "It's entirely appropriate and fitting that the statue should be unveiled in Liverpool where John Lennon was born and began his career."
Despite being invited to attend the annual memorial vigil for Lennon at Central Park's Strawberry Fields, Mayor Giuliani refused to lift the early morning curfew.
Giuliani said Thursday it was dangerous to have the park open that late, and it would require a lot of additional security.
"That's plenty of time to have this celebration or memorial," said Giuliani, ignoring a written plea from the lord mayor of Liverpool to suspend the curfew.
"It's dangerous for a lot of people when you keep the park open, and it requires a tremendous amount of additional security," said the mayor, who was derided by one Lennon fan as "Mean Mr. Mustard."
Giuliani turned the invitation down to attend possibly due to its wording. One of the members of the Memorial Committee said they wanted Giuliani to come to the park because they hope he "wakes up from his 1950s coma and realizes December eighth is a significant date."
Last year, police were already in Strawberry Fields to remove fans at 1 a.m.
Each year since Lennon's slaying on Dec. 8, 1980, fans have gathered spontaneously in the park opposite the spot where the rock icon was shot five times by a deranged fan.
Lenno's widow said she will again leave a single lighted candle in her window at the Dakota apartments as a sign of solidarity with the fans.
The vigil - as it did on the night of Lennon's slaying - typically lasts into the morning hours, with fans gathering to sing Lennon's songs and remember his message of peace.
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