The current status of our understanding of the evolution of crops in China, the Korean Peninsula and Japan are assessed. The plants with a substantial archaeological record are Panicum miliaceum, Setaria italica ssp. italica, Echinochloa utilis (broomcorn/proso, foxtail and Japanese millet), Oryza sativa (rice), Glycine max ssp. max (soybean), Vigna angularis (red bean
azuki) and Prunus persica (peach). A variety of other crops with some representation in the archaeological record include Cannabis sativa (hemp), Perilla frutescens (perilla or beefsteak plant), Euryale ferox (foxnut), Toxicodendron vernicifluum (lacquer tree), Nelumbo nucifera (lotus), Trapa natans (water caltrop/water chestnut) and Lagenaria siceraria (bottle gourd). The ancestry of these plants, our current understanding of the chronology of plant domestication, the contexts of and viable explanations for plant domestication in East Asia are examined. Evidence for domesticated plants and their progenitors become evident in the Late Pleistocene and Early Holocene in China. A few crops such as soybean and adzuki bean may develop domesticated phenotypes a little later during the Middle Holocene. Plant domestication and management during the Jomon Period (Japan) and Chulmun Period (Korea) are unusual because of their appearance in contexts that are normally not considered to be agricultural or involving primary agricultural origins. Instead the typical narratives involve both regions as secondary locales of agricultural origins. Climate and environmental change, high carbon dioxide levels at the end of the Pleistocene, and ecological engineering/niche construction are contexts and stimuli for plant domestication that are currently being debated.