The “striata complex,” a group of spined loaches included in the genus Cobitis and characterized by a striped coloration pattern on the lateral midline, is distributed in rivers in northeastern Asia to western Japan. The complex comprises 2 continental species (Cobitis tetralineata and Cobitis lutheri) and 3 Japanese races of species rank (large race, middle race, and small race), the small race further comprising 6 local forms of subspecific rank (Tokai form, Biwa form, Yodo form, Sanyo form, San-in form, and Kyushu form). Previous karyological studies have revealed that the large race is an allotetraploid, the others being diploid. In this study, mitochondrial (mt) DNA analyses were conducted for 30 diploid populations of the Cobitis striata complex from Japan and Korea to examine: (1) their phylogenetic relationships and the position of the complex among the major lineages of Cobitis; and (2) the genetic relationships among the Japanese and Korean populations. The results, based on cytochrome b sequences (724 base pairs) analyzed with those of the main lineage of European and Japanese Cobitis, indicated that the striata complex should be considered as a monophyletic group, which evolved in northeastern Asia. Initially considered as a subspecies of Cobitis taenia, widely distributed from Europe to Asia, the striata complex does not have a sister-relationship with the former. Although the Korean species C. tetralineata was formerly believed to be closely related to the middle race in Japan, and a second continental species, C. lutheri, closely related to the Kyushu or San-in forms of the small race in Japan, the trees resulting from the present study revealed that the two Korean species were clustered with each other and separated from all Japanese races.