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In Japan, however, the term "bukyō" faded into obscurity.The departure from mainstream literature also meant that patronage of this genre was limited to the masses and not to the literati, which led to the stifling of the development of the wuxia genre.The former is a romanticised historical retelling of the events in the late Eastern Han dynasty and the Three Kingdoms period, while the latter criticises the deplorable socio-economic status of the late Northern Song dynasty.Water Margin is often seen as the first full-length wuxia novel: the portrayal of the 108 heroes, and their code of honour and willingness to become outlaws rather than serve a corrupt government, played an influential role in the development of jianghu culture in later centuries.Romance of the Three Kingdoms is also seen as a possible early antecedent, and contains classic close-combat descriptions that were later borrowed by wuxia writers in their works In the Qing dynasty, further developments were the gong'an (公案; literally "public case") and related detective novels, where xia and other heroes, in collaboration with a judge or magistrate, solved crimes and battled injustice.The Justice Bao stories from Sanxia Wuyi (三俠五義; later extended and renamed to Qixia Wuyi) and Xiaowuyi (小五義), incorporated much of social justice themes of later wuxia stories.Stories from that era, such as Nie Yinniang (聶隱娘), They featured fantasies and isolated protagonists – usually loners – who performed daring heroic deeds.During the Song dynasty, similar stories circulated in the huaben, short works that were once thought to have served as prompt-books for shuochang (traditional Chinese storytelling).

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In spite of this, wuxia writing prevailed in other Chinese-speaking regions, such as Taiwan and Hong Kong.Xiayi stories of chivalrous romance, which frequently featured female heroes and supernatural fighting abilities, also surfaced during the Qing dynasty.Novels such as Shi Gong'an Qiwen (施公案奇聞) and Ernü Yingxiong Zhuan (兒女英雄傳) have been cited as the clearest nascent wuxia novels.In Volume 86 of the Records of the Grand Historian (Shi Ji), Sima Qian mentioned five notable assassins – Cao Mo, Zhuan Zhu, Yu Rang, Nie Zheng and Jing Ke – in the Warring States period who undertook tasks of conducting political assassinations of aristocrats and nobles.These assassins were known as cike (刺客; literally "stabbing guests").

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