This paper attempts to illustrate a link between educational advance and formation of the developmental states in East Asia. The paper first introduces several approaches explaining East Asia’s rapid development. Then, it focuses on statist approaches. The developmental state theory, one of the statist approaches, attempts to explain the government driven development of Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore. Finally, this paper introduces the characteristic features of the national education systems in the East Asian developmental states. The paper argues that the national education systems contributed to nation-building by cultivating skilled human resources for economic development and by promoting national solidarity and social cohesion.