Genre fiction (sometimes called "commercial fiction") around the world has been broadly categorized as less-refined, or less literary. Postmodern thinkers have demonstrated, however, that popular fiction can serve as a fascinating lens through which to read place (society, race, gender, etc.) and time (historical period). This class will serve as an introduction to Japan's long, rich tradition of genre fiction. In addition to reading recent criticism of the genres discussed, we will consider representative works, primarily by twentieth-century authors, in three genres: historical/period fiction, mystery/detective fiction, and horror fiction. This course is taught in English. No Japanese language required. This course is cross-listed with JAPN 239.