Policy education in South Korea and Japan: similar beginnings but different directions?

M. Jae Moon, Masao Kikuchi, Sabinne Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Examining the evolution of public administration and policy education in South Korea and Japan, this study analyzes how such education in the two countries has developed in response to social needs as well as socioeconomic and political changes. In both South Korea and Japan, public administration and policy education originated as a type of law education, but policy education in Korea has developed as a subdiscipline of social science that focuses on improving the ability of social problem-solving, while policy education in Japan evolved under the umbrella of law education longer than Korea and focuses mainly on training elite bureaucrats with a high level of management ability and capacity. The results of this diachronic comparative study of professional and institutional development as well as academic characteristics (i.e., curriculum and students) indicate that different political and social environments as well as educational backgrounds of faculty members have been primary drivers of the divergence of policy education in the two countries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-34
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Asian Public Policy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
When Japan was defeated in World War II, both countries were occupied by a U.S. military government. Korea was occupied by the U.S. Army military government for three years. Rhee Syngman was elected as the first president of Korea in 1948, but the influence of the U.S. government was not reduced due to the Korean War. During the Korean War, the U.S. government was on South Korea’s side because the Korean War was part of the Cold War, when the U.S. needed to protect its allies from communism. In the late 1950s, the Minnesota Project was an important programme that later helped to pave the way for Korea’s development plans. The Minnesota Project was also critical in shaping a new direction for Korea’s public policy education. With strong support from the Korean government and the Office of the Economic Coordinator of the U.S. government, Seoul National University dispatched selected students and professors to the University of Minnesota to prepare government reforms and develop Korea’s university education (Eom, ). Among 226 dispatched students and professors, 27 specialized in public administration.

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea [NRF-2021S1A03065493].

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration


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