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The haplogroup affiliations of Korean mitochondrial DNAs (mtDNAs) were determined by restriction analysis. Out of the 101 mtDNAs analyzed, 91 (90%) belonged to Asian-specific haplogroups M, C, D, G, A, B, and F. Haplogroup E was not detected among the Korean mtDNAs. Three mtDNAs represented an unusual mtDNA haplotype characterized by simultaneous presence of E and G haplogroup-specific polymorphisms. To characterize this haplotype in more detail, we sequenced the hypervariable segment I (HVSI) from these mtDNAs as well as from those from selected individuals representing each haplogroup. Sequence data were further used to compare Korean mtDNAs with mtDNAs from other Asian populations. The observed rare haplotype was also found among Japanese, which suggests that it is one of the ancestral lineages originally peopling Japan.