Korea has gone through a remarkable educational transformation and has become one of the highest performing nations academically. Despite this outstanding achievement, Korean students are often characterized by their extreme academic stress and low academic motivation. Behind this unfortunate phenomenon lies a complex interplay between Korea’s sociocultural context, educational systems and policies, and learning environments. Parental zealotry for education epitomizes the sociocultural context in Korea, which puts many Korean students under heavy pressure to achieve. At the same time, normative evaluation permeates the Korean educational systems and policies widely, exacerbating the stress and feelings of helplessness among Korean learners. The national college entrance examination, easily regarded as a capstone of K-12 education by parents and students alike, is administered only once a year, further fueling test-taking students’ anxiety and helplessness. Owing to these circumstances, the classroom atmosphere is frequently loaded with over-competition. Private education is thriving on the wishes and fears of parents and students to do better than and not fall behind the other students and school teachers are compelled to teach to the test. Not surprisingly, students in these learning environments lose academic confidence, focus on grades and test scores rather than mastering the material, and become less intrinsically motivated in learning. In this chapter, we discuss how Korea’s unique culture, educational systems and policies, and classroom characteristics influence student motivation. We close the chapter by introducing some of the Korean government’s efforts to address various educational challenges, which have implications for student motivation.