DnaJ/Hsp40 (heat shock protein 40) proteins have been preserved throughout evolution and are important for protein translation, folding, unfolding, translocation, and degradation, primarily by stimulating the ATPase activity of chaperone proteins, Hsp70s. Because the ATP hydrolysis is essential for the activity of Hsp70s, DnaJ/Hsp40 proteins actually determine the activity of Hsp70s by stabilizing their interaction with substrate proteins. DnaJ/Hsp40 proteins all contain the J domain through which they bind to Hsp70s and can be categorized into three groups, depending on the presence of other domains. Six DnaJ homologs have been identified in Escherichia coli and 22 in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Genome-wide analysis has revealed 41 DnaJ/Hsp40 family members (or putative members) in humans. While 34 contain the typical J domains, 7 bear partially conserved J-like domains, but are still suggested to function as DnaJ/ Hsp40 proteins. DnaJA2b, DnaJB1b, DnaJC2, DnaJC20, and DnaJC21 are named for the first time in this review; all other human DnaJ proteins were dubbed according to their gene names, e.g. DnaJA1 is the human protein named after its gene DNAJA1. This review highlights the progress in studying the domains in DnaJ/Hsp40 proteins, introduces the mechanisms by which they interact with Hsp70s, and stresses their functional diversity.