Narrativity constitutes an important common feature of historiography and literature. According to Hayden White’s theory of emplotment, historiography must therefore be considered as a substantially fiction-making operation. Investigation criteria of mainly German narrative theories (Käte Hamburger, Franz K. Stanzel, Ansgar Nünning and others) show, however, that fictional narrativity uses specific techniques which do not appear within historiography but prove to be extremely important to distinguish history from fiction. These criteria can easily be used as a means to analyze literary texts, especially if compared to Wolfgang Iser’s more abstract theory of aesthetic response (“Wirkungsgeschichte”) and Hans Robert Jauss’ reception-aesthetics (“Rezeptionsästhetik”). What distinguishes these different directions of literary theories and which areas does narratology not cover? What are the difficulties when reception theories are applied compared to narratological criteria? Kanki Takurō’s short story “The Key” (Kagi, 1986) may serve as an example for narratological investigations together with an examination of the ways in which literary works are received by readers.