As a region, East Asia looms large in internation politics. Four of the world’s fifteen most populous countries (China, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam) occupy the region, as do three of the world’s fifteen richest countries by nominal GDP (China, Japan, and South Korea). At the same time, international politics in East Asia is complex and at time volatile. The primary objectives of this class are to help enhance the students analytic ability for the study of political dynamics and policy behaviors of the most intriguing systems of East Asia (two Chinas, two Koreas, and Japan). The course examines and compares the major aspects and functions of political systems, processes, and changes (general patterns of similarities and differences) in each of these countries. Major contemporary issues and policies of the East Asian systems are also surveyed, with particular emphasis on how (in what ways) each government enhances its regime’s claim to political legitimacy.