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Battle Royale: The Novel [Paperback]

Koushun Takami
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Nov. 17 2009 Battle Royale
In an alternative future Japan, junior high students are forced to fight to the death! L to R (Western Style). 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 Fliesfor 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. A group of high school students are taken to small isolated island and forced to fight each other until only one remains alive! If they break the rules a special collar blows their heads off. Koushun Takami's brutal, high-octane thriller is told in breathless. blow-by-blow fashion. Battle Royale is a contemporary Japanese pulp classic now available for the first time in English.

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About the Author

Koushun Takami was borin in 1969 in Amagasaki near Osaka and grew up in Kagawa Prefecture of Shikoku, where he currently resides. After Graduating from Osaka University with a degree in literature, he dropped out of Nihon University's liberal arts correspondence school. From 1991 to 1996 he worked for the prefectural news company Shikoku Shinbun. Battle Royale, completed after Takami left the news company, was a finalist for the Kadokawa Mystery Prize, but ulimately lost due to the controversy the novel's content provoked among juruy members. With its publication in Japan in 1999, Battle Royale received widespread support from young readers and became a best seller. in 2000. ot was adapted as a manga and made into a popular feature film.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
By Darlene TOP 50 REVIEWER
I received this audiobook from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any compensation for my review, and the views expressed herein are my own.

Battle Royale totally blew me away! Not only is it my favourite read of 2012, but it is also one of my favourite reads of all time! This book was originally written in Japanese and translated into English.

I love survival stories, and Battle Royale is the ultimate in survival. The book starts off innocently enough, with a group of 15-year-old students setting out on a field trip. Unbeknownst to them, they have been chosen to participate in the government's sadistic reality game. The students are gassed in the school bus and awaken to find themselves in a classroom on an island with steel collars around their necks. They are told that their class has been chosen to take part in a battle simulation program conducted by the Republic of Greater East Asia's ground defense forces which they say they instituted for security reasons. It is officially known as the "Battle Experiment 68 Program," and it was first held in 1947. Fifty third-year junior high classes are selected annually to conduct the program for "research purposes." The classmates in each class are forced to fight until one survivor is left. The final survivor from each class is awarded with a lifetime pension and a card autographed by the nation's Dictator. The numbers are staggering. If fifty classes of 40 students are selected each year, that means that 1,950 teens are killed annually assuming that there is a winner from each class! The students are each given a duffel bag at random which contains one weapon and nominal rations of bread and water.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars No mercy May 16 2010
Imagine this: Japan is run by a totalitarian government, which occasionally selects groups of ninth graders to methodically destroy each other. On TV.

There now, isn't that chilling? It's the creepy, all-too-real premise of Koushun Takami's "Battle Royale," an intricate novel about a parallel universe, where Japan is part of a brutal, coldhearted empire. Takami's writing style is a bit too spare at times, but he's still able to inspire a sense of haunting terror in his readers.

A group of third-year high-schoolers are being transported on a bus, when they are gassed to unconsciousness, and taken to a distant island. When they awake, they have silver collars around their necks, and a man explains that they have been chosen for the Program: a military training exercise where you must kill or be killed. If you don't play, or stay in one place too long, the collars explode.

The teenagers slowly weed one another out, armed with weapons and random household tools, and monitored by the authorities to make sure they don't plot. Finally the entire class is weeded down to three young adults, including Shuya Nanahara and his girlfriend Noriko. But if they refuse to kill, then they must escape the fascist nightmare... which no one has done before.

"Battle Royale" was condemned in Japan for being so violent, and having a bunch of normal high schoolers killing each other off. So of course, it became a massive bestseller. But "Battle Royale" would have been striking even if it hadn't been publicized like that -- not only is it well-written, but it asks the question straight-out: how much will people do to survive?

Maybe it's also a parable about high-school life, and the struggle to succeed at all costs in Japan.
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5.0 out of 5 stars My one of favorit Sept. 9 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is really a book must read! I love this book and I never felt strong emotion such as this one. I even end up crying in some part. Which I never do!

This book is AMAZING
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5.0 out of 5 stars My favorite book Aug. 14 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have owned three copies of this book now. I keep lending it out and not getting it back. It is my favorite book of all time. The author goes into detailing the lives of every single character in the book (over a dozen) while telling the chilling tale. You end up empathizing with them all, as they betray and murder each other in cold blood. Lots of great things that just weren't in the movie.

The phrasing is elegant enough but straight forward that it is an easy read. A modern day, powered up version of Lord of the Flies.
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