Battle Royale (Japanese: バトル・ロワイアル, Hepburn: Batoru Rowaiaru) is a Japanese dystopian horror novel by journalist Koushun Takami. Battle Royale is the first novel from Takami and was originally completed in 1996 but was not published until 1999. The story tells of junior high school students who are forced to fight each other to the death in a program run by a fictional, fascist, totalitarian Japanese government known as the Republic of Greater East Asia.
The dystopian novel was previously entered into the 1997 Japan Horror Fiction Awards but was eventually rejected in the final round due to concerns over its depictions of students killing each other. Upon publication in 1999, the novel became a surprise bestseller.
In 2000, one year after publication, Battle Royale was adapted into a manga series, written by Takami himself, and a feature film. The film was both controversial and successful, becoming one of the year’s highest-grossing films as well as prompting condemnation by Japan’s National Diet. The film spawned a sequel, and two more brief manga adaptations were also created.