Mutation breeding techniques have been used to induce new genetic variations and improve agronomic traits in soybean. In Korea, the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI) has unique radiation facilities to induce plant mutations and has been conducting soybean mutation breeding programmes since the mid-1960s. Until now, the KAERI has developed five soybean mutant cultivars exhibiting early maturity, high yield and seed-coat colour change. In this paper, we review these five mutant cultivars in terms of how to successfully induce unique agronomic characteristics through mutation breeding programmes. A number of induced mutants exhibiting null lipoxygenase enzymes, altered protein patterns or Kunitz trypsin inhibitor activity could serve as genetic resources for the genetic analysis of target genes, and one mutant population has been developed for a reverse genetic study.