Random, nonselected tissue specimens from 99 Japanese-20 cylindrically cut nasal blocks removed during autopsy (A.C., Autopsy Cases) and 79 cases removed during surgery, consisting of 32 chronic sinusitis cases (C.S.) and 47 nasal polyp cases (N.P.)-were examined histopathologically and electronmicroscopically with respect to distribution and frequency of melanocytes in the nasal cavity and paranasal sinus. Malignant melanoma cases were excluded. The overall incidence of positive cases for melanocytes revealed 21.2% (21 of 99 cases), with an incidence ratio of male to female of 0.9:1.0. Melanocytes were found beginning in the under 19 age group with incidence increasing proportionately with age. Peak incidence was in the 50-year age group at 50%. Melanocytes and melanotic cell foci were distributed in the stroma of the propria mucosa beneath the pseudostratified columnar epithelium and focused around the nasal and paranasal glands and sinuses. In 2 of the 21 cases positive for stromal melanocytes, intraepithelial melanocytes with dendritic processes were found. The histogenesis of malignant melanoma arising from the nasal cavity and paranasal sinus are also discussed in this study.