We measured cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) hypocretin-1 levels in 11 patients with narcolepsy-cataplexy, five with narcolepsy without cataplexy and 12 with idiopathic hypersomnia (IHS). All patients were Japanese. As reported in Caucasian patients, undetectable or very low hypocretin-1 levels were observed in most (9 out of 11) Japanese narcolepsy--cataplexy patients. Our hypocretin-deficient narcoleptics included three prepubertal cases within few months after the disease onset. All nine hypocretin-deficient patients were human leuckocyte antigen (HLA) DR2 positive, while two who had normal CSF hypocretin-1 levels were HLA DR2 negative. In contrast, none of the narcolepsy without cataplexy and IHS subjects had undetectable low levels. Low CSF hypocretin-1 is therefore very specific for HLA DR2 positive narcolepsy-cataplexy, and the deficiency is likely to be established at the early stage of the disease.