Koushun Takami’s notorious high-octane thriller is based on an irresistible premise: a class of junior high school students is taken to a deserted island where, as part of a ruthless authoritarian program, they are provided arms and forced to kill one another until only one survivor is left standing.
Criticized as violent exploitation when first published in Japan – where it then proceeded to become a runaway bestseller – Battle Royale is a Lord of the Flies for the 21st century, a potent allegory of what it means to be young and (barely) alive in a dog-eat-dog world.
Made into a controversial hit movie of the same name, Battle Royale is already a contemporary Japanese pulp classic, now available for the first time in the English language.
Koushun Takami (高見 広春 Takami Kōshun) is the author of the novel Battle Royale, originally published in Japanese, and later translated into English by Yuji Oniki and published by Viz Media and, later, in an expanded edition by Haika Soru, a division of Viz Media.
Takami was born in Amagasaki, Hyōgo Prefecture near Osaka and grew up in the Kagawa Prefecture of Shikoku. After graduating from Osaka University with a degree in literature, he dropped out of Nihon University’s liberal arts correspondence course program. From 1991 to 1996, he worked for the news company Shikoku Shimbun, reporting on various fields including politics, police reports, and economics.
The novel Battle Royale was completed after Takami left the news company. It was rejected in the final round of the literary competition for which it was intended, owing to its controversial content. It went on to become a bestseller when finally released in 1999 and, a year later, was made into a manga and a feature film.
He is currently working on a second novel.
Any movies which were initially books are you interested in watching? Have you read the books?