Stroke is one of the leading causes of death and morbidity worldwide. The occurrence of stroke is strongly dependent on well-known vascular risk factors. After rapid modernization, urbanization, and mechanization, East Asian countries have experienced growth in their aged populations, as well as changes in lifestyle and diet. This phenomenon has increased the prevalence of vascular risk factors among Asian populations, which are susceptible to developing cardiovascular risk factors. However, differing patterns of stroke risk factor profiles have been noted in East Asian countries over the past decades. Even though the prevalence of vascular risk factors has changed, hypertension is still prevalent and the burden of diabetes and hypercholesterolemia will continue to increase. Asia remains a high tobacco-consuming area. Although indicators of awareness and management of vascular risk factors have increased in many East Asian countries, their rates still remain low. Here we review the burdens of traditional risk factors, such as hypertension, diabetes, hypercholesterolemia, and smoking in East Asia. We will also discuss the different associations between these vascular risk factors and stroke in Asian and non-Asian populations.