Are there any modern (as in beginning of the 19th century to now) Chinese or Indian authors or works worth looking into? Conversely, what are some good pre-modern Japanese works?
>jin yong is the best chinese author of the last ~100 years or so
Most people would say Eileen Chang and Lu Xun.
Lu Xun (1880somthing - 1936, active 19teens, 1920s, 30s) lived through the transition from Imperial China to early 20th century, helped create modern Chinese literature. Wrote short stories and lots of funny bitter essays.
Eileen Chang (1920-1995, most active in Japanese occupied Shanghai 1940s), short stories about disappointed romantics.
With both writers the way they use language (for humour, lush description, witty dialogue..) is key to their popularity, so im not sure if they would be anything more than a curiosity in English.