Persimmon (Diospyros kaki Thunb.) is an important fruit in Asian countries, where it is eaten as a fresh fruit and is also used for many other purposes. To understand the molecular mechanism of fruit development and ripening in persimmon, we generated a total of 9,952 expressed sequence tags (ESTs) from randomly selected clones of two different cDNA libraries. One cDNA library was derived from fruit of "Saijo" persimmon at an early stage of development, and the other from ripening fruit. These ESTs were clustered into 6,700 non-redundant sequences. Of the 6,700 non-redundant sequences evaluated, the deduced amino acid sequences of 4,356 (65%) showed significant homology to known proteins, and 2,344 (35%) showed no significant similarity to any known proteins in Arabidopsis databases. We report comparison of genes identified in the two cDNA libraries and describe some putative genes involved in proanthocyanidin and carotenoid synthesis. This study provides the first global overview of a set of genes that are expressed during fruit development and ripening in persimmon.