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Koushun Takami's notorious high-octane thriller envisions a nightmare scenario: 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 until only one survivor is left standing. Criticized as violent exploitation when first published in Japan—where it became a runaway best seller—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.
A new translation by Nathan Collins.
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. 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 ultimately lost due to the controversy the novel's content provoked among jury members. With its publication in Japan in 1999, Battle Royale received widespread support from young readers and became a best seller. In 2000, it was adapted as a manga and made into a popular feature film.