Published online by Cambridge University Press: 14 April 2022
Introduced to China and Japan in the late nineteenth century, detective fiction was understood to be a critical modern genre that embodied rationality and science, which were key concepts within the larger context of modernization and westernization. But prior to their encounter with Western detective fiction, China and Japan had enjoyed a long crime fiction tradition, most notably in the form of court case fiction involving famous judges and magistrates. Sharing some characteristics with Western counterparts but deviating from them in many others, the court case fiction tradition played an important role in the reception of Western detective fiction and helped shape the culturally specific inflections of the genre’s development in these countries. By focusing on key works and major trends from as early as the third century to the turn of the twenty-first, this chapter examines the long history of Asian crime fiction and, in so doing, recontextualizes the Asian reception of a Western genre within this long history to challenge the Eurocentric understanding of crime fiction as a literary genre.