Battle Royale

koushun takami

Battle Royale is a 1999 Japanese novel written by Koushun Takami about schoolchildren who are forced to fight each other to the death. The novel has been adapted into a 2000 film and a manga series. The story takes place in an alternate timeline—Japan is a member region of a totalitarian state known as the Republic of Greater East Asia. Under the guise of a ‘study trip,’ a group of students are gassed on a bus. They awaken in the Okishima Island School on an isolated, evacuated island (modeled after the island of Ogijima). They learn that they have been placed in an event called the Program.

Officially a military research project, it is a means of terrorizing the population, of creating such paranoia as to make organized insurgency impossible. The Program began in 1947. According to the rules fifty third-year high school classes are selected (prior to 1950, forty-seven classes were selected) annually to participate in the Program for research purposes. The students from a single class are isolated and are required to fight the other members from their class to the death. The Program ends when only one student remains, with that student being declared the winner.

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