Variations in the fat-mass and obesity-associated gene (FTO) are associated with the obesity phenotype in many Caucasian populations. This association with the obesity phenotype is not clear in the Japanese. To investigate the relationship between the FTO gene and obesity in the Japanese, we genotyped single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the FTO genes from severely obese subjects [n = 927, body mass index (BMI) > or = 30 kg/m2] and normal-weight control subjects (n = 1,527, BMI < 25 kg/m2). A case-control association analysis revealed that 15 SNPs, including rs9939609 and rs1121980, in a linkage disequilibrium (LD) block of approximately 50 kb demonstrated significant associations with obesity; rs1558902 was most significantly associated with obesity. P value in additive mode was 0.0000041, and odds ratio (OR) adjusted for age and gender was 1.41 [95% confidential interval (CI) = 1.22-1.62]. Obesity-associated phenotypes, which include the level of plasma glucose, hemoglobin A1c, total cholesterol, triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, and blood pressure were not associated with the rs1558902 genotype. Thus, the SNPs in the FTO gene were found to be associated with obesity, i.e., severe obesity, in the Japanese.