Battle Royale

I first heard of this title from a sadistic movie. My student told me about it asked me to see it. He said it was about a group of students killing each other to survive. at that time I was thinking ‘what kind of nonsense is that?? I’ll pass this movie’. Without watching it I’ve been prejudiced over that movie and thought why do people want to make movie as sadistic as possible without trying to make sense of it.

….And now I regret making that kind of prejudice…I totally regret it!!

I accidentally found the book of Battle Royale in JF Library…I didn’t know that Battle Royale was originally a novel. It was written by Koushun Takami. There’s a recommendation from Stephen King on it’s front cover saying ‘…an insanely entertaining pulp riff…‘. The moment I saw that book, I was intrigue…this book made it to big screen and recommended by The great Stephen King….maybe I was wrong all this time. I borrowed it without any second thought.

And Voila…The book was amazing!!! a definite 5stars kind of book.

The story took place in another era…I couldn’t really say it was in the future…it’s more like in the same time as we are now (they don’t use imaginary tools that will only exist in the future) but in a different state of condition as we are now. The world has changed, Japan has turned into The Republic of Greater East Asia…a very wealthy country that ruled by a dictator while USA has turned into a third world country called America Imperialist. Although TRoGEA is wealthy country but the system of that country is a total fucked up. every movements against the country will immediately be put down and everything that will provoke a movement against the country is banned, including rock music..even internet is limited.

The Republic held a special program called battle experiment. What kind of battle is that?? The government chose randomly any class from 3rd grade junior high school and then put them into a secret Island or area. They were given various kinds of weapons to protect them self. The instructor told them that the have to kill each other (in other word, kill their classmates) until there is only 1 student remained. The instructor also told them rules that will force them to play the ‘program’ even they want it to or not. It was a no-win situation. The last one standing is then called as The Winner and received a lifetime pension and autograph from the great Dictator.

The game was held each year…and this year, Class B Shiroiwa Junior High School, Shiroiwa Town, Kagawa Prefecture was chosen to enter the program. Some refused to play, some willingly play the program, some teamed up with the friend they trusted the most, some believed no one, and some believed they can escape from the program.

Although The battle was full of gruesome deaths, but there was also a great emotion involved during the battle. All 42 students had different characters and different emotions. Each character was well build. Of all 21 male students, Shogo Kawada, Kazuo Kiriyama, Hiroki Sugimura, Yutaka Seto, Shuya Nanahara, and Shinji Mimura were considered as the main characters. And of all 21 female students, only 2 were considered as the main character, they were Mitsuko Souma and Noriko Nakagawa.

I really like how Koushun Takami created all the characters with their own complex personality….it made the book not merely about sadistic murder and blood but also about how a person will handle such horrible condition. Behind all the blood, we can find great friendship and love. We can also encounter great betrayal and deceive. All I can say about this book is ‘Throw away all prejudice against this book and you’ll have a wonderful story

For me, this book was amazing…but I can easily understand if I find someone hating this book so much…it does sound ridiculous, doesn’t it? How could a government let their young generation killed their friend? and how could the society let that happen?? What is the purpose of the program anyway??

I can’t tell you the purpose, that is something you have to read for yourself…but I can tell you that this situation where people keep their mouth shut when injustice happened around them is really happening around us every single day. Hell, it even happened in the place where I work (a place so wealthy but the rules are so fucked up and no one seems to take real actions against it). Koushun Takami turned this kind of condition into a more drastic and gruesome condition…but if you read with open mind, you’ll find the truth beyond this controversial story.

Battle Royale

the movie isn’t as good as the book.


  1. Just read your review diagonally in case I will still go read the book. Have put it on my wish-list now that you’re so enthusiastic! It’s a real bummer I couldn’t join you in the group read this time 😦

    1. ah…your comment reminds me that I need to visit the group discussion soon. See what people think of it.

      I hope you can find it, I want to know what do you think about it. The book is both hated and loved by people. I wonder where will you stand 😉

  2. Sounds definitely very interesting, I guess probably even more than The Hunger Games… I don’t know if they are also centering on the theme of not speaking up… It always amazes me how much injstice is possible everyday because people just don’t say anything.

    1. It is very interesting. This book will definitely be in my top-5 Japanese literature of all time. I will reread it one day, that’s for sure.

      I don’t know what is the center theme of The Hunger Game, maybe it”ll be different

      1. I might still start with The Hunger Games as I already got part one which I forgot… I read on that people say The Hunger Games was like a tame version of Battle Royale. It got 5 stars from all the people who reviewed it. It is a bit long though…

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