We investigated human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class I and class II antigens in 56 Japanese patients with subacute thyroiditis (SAT) who visited our out-patient clinic between 1988 and 1990. We found SAT to be associated with not only HLA-B35 (40 patients; P < 0.000001; relative risk, 18.02), but also with HLA-B67 antigens (9 patients; P < 0.00001; relative risk, 11.20). No heterozygotes of HLA-B35 or HLA-B67 were found in any of the 56 patients with SAT. Either HLA-B35 or HLA-B67 antigen is found in 87% of patients with SAT. When season of onset and clinical course of SAT were compared in the 49 patients with HLA-B35-positive SAT (B35-SAT) and HLA-B67-positive SAT (B67-SAT), we were able to identify certain characteristics: 1) B67-SAT often followed the course from transient thyrotoxicosis to a hypothyroid phase to a euthyroid phase [6 of 9 B67-SAT (67%) vs. 10 of 40 B35-SAT (25%); P < 0.05]; and 2) B67-SAT occurred mostly during the summer or autumn and at a higher rate than did B35-SAR [8 of 9 B67-SAT (89%) vs. 17 of 40 B35-SAT (43%)], whereas B35-SAT occurred throughout the year. We conclude that there are at least two types of SAT that can be classified by association with either HLA-B35 or HLA-B67 antigens.