The emergence of east asian constitutionalism: Features in comparison

Jiunn Rong Yeh*, Wen-Chen Chang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Vibrant constitutional democracies have taken hold in East Asia. Scant attention, however, has been paid to the ways in which constitutionalism has emerged and developed into distinctive forms in that region. This Article seeks to analyze and to present an overview of constitutional developments in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan after World War II. By comparing the three countries, the authors identify a number of common features which their constitutional environments share. These include an instrumental approach to constitutional state building, institutional continuity, a reactive and cautious style of judicial review, and adoption of a wide range of rights in line with social and political progress. These features do not merely mirror standard (Western) constitutionalism, nor do they fit neatly into the so-called Asian values discourse. They also do not merely indicate global transitional constitutionalism. Instead, the emergence of an East Asian style sheds a new light on contemporary constitutionalism more generally and deserves a central place in comparative constitutional studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)805-839
Number of pages35
JournalAmerican Journal of Comparative Law
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2011

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