Battle Royale: The Novel Paperback – Nov 17 2009
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About the Author
Koushun Takami was born 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 program. From 1991 to 1996, he worked for the prefectural news company Shikoku Shihnbun, reporting on various fields including politics, police reports, and economics. Although he has an English teaching certificate, he has yet to visit the United States. Battle Royale, completed after Takami left the news company, was rejected in the final round of a literary competition sponsored by a major publisher due to the critical controversy it provoked among jury members. With its publication in Japan in 1999, though, Battle Royale received widespread support, particularly from young readers, and became a bestseller. In 2000, Battle Royale was serialized as a comic and made into a feature film.Mr. Takami is currently working on his second novel."
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
This novel was unbelievably addictive, I literally could not put it down until I was finished days later. It was an intensely vivid and terrifying glance into the psychology of fear and trust. It is undoubtedly gory and excessively violent but is extremely successful in its goals. By far some of the most incredibly exciting fiction I have read in years.
However, "Battle Royale" is a very memorable book; you will be surprised how all the events stay in your mind. Despite there being some 42 kids with difficult Japanese names, I remembered each character, how they lived, and how they died. And this book is literally impossible to put down-it's v. v. compulsive reading. I finished it in one sitting.
You probably already know what this book is about, but here's a quick plot summary anyway: the Japanese government institutes "Battle Royale," and randomly selects 50 ninth-grade classes for the program. Each class is left on a deserted island, supplied with different weapons, and forced to kill each other until there is only one survivor. Most are unsure of each other's intentions and cannot trust anyone; this is what the government wants: for no one to trust each other well enough to form a group against the government.
"Battle Royale" has understandably been criticized as violent exploitation (esp. since these kids are 14-15 and some are more than willing to hack each other up), but there is something much more deeper than that. The book explores tricky relationships between people, and there are many questions asked in the film, like "Who can I trust?", "Can I trust my best friend?", "Can I trust my boyfriend/girlfriend?", "What is right/wrong?", "Can we fight the system?Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
This book really takes the cake. No offense to Hunger Games fans, but I recommend this book over the Hunger Games series. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Kathy
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! Read morePublished on Sept. 9 2013 by Mee-So Chung
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. Read morePublished on Aug. 14 2013 by bboysushi
it came within a few days in perfect brand new condition. i haven't read it yet but it looks like it's the book the hunger games was tottally ripped off from.Published on Aug. 3 2013 by rose
I originally learned of this book after having read The Hunger Games. Most reviews I read said that THG was ripped off of this book, but after reading it, I have to disagree. Read morePublished on Aug. 2 2013 by Rose
I don't give anything a 5 star rating... but this book is very close to it.
Great character development book, and a great read overall. Read more
Battle Royale to me is a prime example of the worthlessness of censorship. When it was first released, Battle Royale was roundly condemned by critics as sensational, exploitative,... Read morePublished on Nov. 24 2012 by M. Yakiwchuk
When I first heard about the premise behind this novel, I couldn't believe it. Japanese high-school kids on an island, killing each other until only one is left standing? Read morePublished on March 13 2009 by Trevor Moe