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He is an exchange student who intentionally joined, not forced into, the Battle Royale program (a game designed to have students kill each other) for his own entertainment instead of being taken forcefully. As the game begins he rapidly becomes the most dangerous and feared player. This is what made Kawada immediately hate Kiriyama, as Kawada noticed Kiriyama is just as, if not even more sadistic and unreasonably violent than the adults who authorized the Battle Royale program.
He is first seen along with the other players gathered on a classroom on a isolated island chosen for the program. He is seen later being threatened by a group of students as they thought he was working for the program, while being threatened at gunpoint he then spits on the face of a student who was pointing him with an Uzi, grabs the Uzi and kills the gang, taking all of their weapons including the Uzi, a handgun and two grenades.
The next day two female students, Yukiko and Yumiko, make a peace call to other students through a speaker begging the students that they wish to find a solution to not being forced to kill each other, drawing his attention. Suddenly Kiriyama shoots them from behind, in a display of sadism he grabs the speaker and puts it on the mouth of Yumiko (as she was still alive) and shoots her on the stomach so everyone on the island can hear her screams. Shuya, Noriko and Kawada hear this but were too far away to save the two girls. Later that night he kills a student decapitating him with a katana and steals his bulletproof vest, then he attacks a house where Nanahara, Noriko and Kawada (another exchange student who was more merciful but still dangerous) were hiding, forcing Nanahara to split from Noriko and Kawada, then they have a brief gunfight before Nanahara is rescued by Yukie Utsumi and taken to the lighthouse. Kiriyama's goal to kill off the students gets even easier for him since even without his interference, many students (majority of them being girls) have already killed each other either out of competition or lack of trust and hysteria. The next day he engages on a gunfight with the second most dangerous player, Mitsuko Souma, a ruthless, cold-hearted girl.
Kiriyama is almost defeated but manages to kill her by shooting her multiple times. That night he spots three students who hacked into Kitano's computer systems and were planning to blow up the central base using a makeshift bomb but they are killed, on a last moment Mimura detonates the bomb, leaving Kazuo blind. This is when the game is no longer fun for him to play and now eliminating the last players is a matter of survival for him, not a matter of entertainment.
Kawada however notifies Kazuo where he is just by the clicking sound of reloading his rifle. That is when Kazuo quickly shoots at Kawada (now able to tell where Kawada is despite being blind) and the epic showdown begins. While Shuya and Noriko watch in horror, Kawada shoots him in the leg and in his bomb collar which explodes and rips apart Kiriyama's neck gushing out his blood, killing Kiriyama for good. Shuya and Noriko are appalled by the violence of their enemy's death.
It is revealed that Kazuo managed to successfully shoot Kawada at least a few, if not multiple times. While he dies from his injuries, Kawada tells Shuya to always protect Noriko.
Kazuo is portrayed as a psychopathic, heartless killer who is devoid of emotion, always having his face with a blank expression, although he smiles gleefully when killing other students, taking a sadistic satisfaction on it. Also he never speaks on all course of the film.
Kazuo Kiriyama earned highly positive reviews by film critics and audiences alike, and Battle Royale remains one of Japan's most critically acclaimed films.
- Kazuo Kirayama's designated number is 6.
- He is the only student who joined Battle Royale voluntarily for his own amusement.
- His designated weapon was a paper fan, but that didn't matter since he managed to kill off many students by surprise who had very strong weapons and used those to start his rampage on the island to start having fun playing Battle Royale
- He was the deadliest player and had the highest body count with a total of 12.