Brazil hosts the largest Japanese community outside Japan, estimated at 1.5 million individuals, one third of whom are first-generation, Brazilian-born with native Japanese parents. This large community provides a unique opportunity for comparative studies of the distribution of pharmacogenetic polymorphisms in native Japanese versus their Brazilian-born descendants. Functional polymorphisms in genes that modulate drug disposition (CYP2C9, CYP2C19 and GSTM3) or response (VKORC1) and that differ significantly in frequency in native Japanese versus Brazilians with no Japanese ancestry were selected for the present study. Healthy subjects (200 native Japanese and 126 first-generation Japanese descendants) living in agricultural colonies were enrolled. Individual DNA was genotyped using RFLP (GSTM3*A/B) or TaqMan Detection System assays (CYP2C9*2 and *3; CYP2C19*2 and *3; VKORC1 3673G>A, 5808T>G, 6853G>C, and 9041G>A). No difference was detected in the frequency of these pharmacogenetic polymorphisms between native Japanese and first-generation Japanese descendants. In contrast, significant differences in the frequency of each polymorphism were observed between native or first-generation Japanese and Brazilians with no Japanese ancestry. The VKORC1 3673G>A, 6853G>C and 9041G>A single nucleotide polymorphisms were in linkage disequilibrium in both native and first-generation Japanese living in Brazil. The striking similarity in the frequency of clinically relevant pharmacogenetic polymorphisms between Brazilian-born Japanese descendants and native Japanese suggests that the former may be recruited for clinical trials designed to generate bridging data for the Japanese population in the context of the International Conference on Harmonization.