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Koushun Takami Books In Order

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Publication Order of Battle Royale Books

Koshun Takami
Koshun Takami is a Japanese journalist and author. He was born on January 10, 1969 in Amagasaki, Hyogo Prefecture near Osaka and grew up in the Kagawa Prefecture of Shikoku. After graduating from Osaka University with a degree in literature, he dropped out of Nihon University’s liberal arts correspondence course.

From 1991 until 1996, he worked for Shikoku Shimbum, the news company, reporting on various things including police reports, politics, and economics.

“Battle Royale” was completed after he left the news company. It was rejected during the final round of the 1997 literary competition Japan Grand Prix Horror Novel, because of its controversial content portraying Junior High School kids forced to kill each other. There was no award given that year. All three members of the final round’s selection committee that year admitted it was the best work (in terms of subject matter, story, and structure), however declined to award it the winner because of its content. They didn’t award it because they felt if they did it would hurt the competition’s reputation.

It was speculated by somebody that took part in the award’s preliminary selection committee it was due to the backdrop being too reminiscent of the Kobe child murders committed the year previous.

When it was finally published in 1999, it went on to become a bestseller in Japan. The original Japanese novel sold over a million copies, before it was translated into almost a dozen languages. And just a year later was made into two feature films and multiple manga series, one of which was written by Takami himself.

The novel’s 2000 feature film adaptation was written by Kenta Fukasaku and directed by Kinji Fukasaku, the father of the man writing the script. It was also successful yet controversial, with it being condemned by members of Japan’s National Diet on the grounds of it being harmful to the youth, but became one of the highest grossing films the year it came out. It was followed by a sequel in 2003, called “Battle Royale II: Requiem”.

In 2012, the Sipat Lawin Ensemble and two other college theater groups in the Philippines, made their own unofficial and loose adaptation of the book into a live action performance, titled “Battalia Royale”. It debuted at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. There were also performances held at this abandoned high school in Quezon City.

He came up with the original story idea for the novel after having a dream. He was lying on his futon, half awake and half sleeping, and had this mental image of a teacher from a school drama that he saw on TV long ago. He told the class that he was going to have them kill one another. And the image of the teacher grinning while he spoke was just so vivid, that he laughed but was also horrified. And with that, he knew he had something to write about.

Takami came up with the title “Battle Royale” after he discussed his idea with his friends, who told him sounded like a reimagined pro-wrestling battle royal match. He then took an interest in the social aspect of a battle royal match, like how former enemies will work together in order to beat a stronger foe and especially the way former allies will betray one another for their own glory.

For the world building, he was inspired by his own upbringing in Japan during the 1960s, when large groups of revolutionaries fought back against police brutality. His portrayal of a totalitarian fascist government was also influenced by “The Long Walk”, his favorite Stephen King novel.

Takami describes the characters as possibly all being sort of alike, being all the same despite having differing hobbies and appearances, and being static characters. He used these descriptions in contrast to the manga adaptation that he wrote, which he believes has a more well developed and diverse cast.

In 2003, the novel was translated into English by Yuji Oniki and was published by Viz Media. An expanded English edition later was published by Haika Soru in 2009. The “Battle Royale” series has become infamous not just in Japan, but all around the world and has earned a cult status for itself.

“Battle Royale” is the first novel in the “Battle Royale” series and was released in 1999. Set in a fictional fascist Japan, which arose after an alternate World War II where Japan emerged victorious and a rebellion was put down by the combined police and military forces. Takami’s notorious high octane thriller is based off a most irresistible premise: one class of 42 junior high school students are taken off to this deserted island where, as part of this ruthless authoritarian program, they’re electronically collared, provided with weapons of varying potency, and then sent out onto the island.

Should they try and escape from the island, they will be blown up. If they go to the wrong part of the island at the wrong time, then their collars will explode. If no one is murdered in twenty-four hours, then all of their collars will be detonated. And if they should band together in order to save themselves then a collar randomly explodes. Quite simply, their one and only chance of survival lies in murdering their fellow classmates.

“Battle Royale” is a “Lord of the Flies” for the 21st century, and it is a potent story about survival and politics in a dog-eat-dog world.

This story is brilliant, and opens up all kinds of doors to conversations and thoughts about loyalty, survival, psychology, moral ground, murder, and even love. The novel delivers a fun premise, with plenty of action, thrills, suspense, and fun.

Stephen King praised the novel as an insanely entertaining pulp riff which combines “World Wrestling Entertainment” with “Survivor”, when he included it in his list of seven books in his 2005 summer reading list.

Quentin Tarantino was inspired by the movie, creating the character of Gogo Yubari (who is played by Chiaki Kuriyama) in his movie “Kill Bill”, who is similar to Takako Chigusa, the character that she plays in the “Battle Royale” film. He praised the movie version, saying it was his favorite movie of the past two decades.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Koushun Takami

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