The Japan Society for Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD-Japan) was launched in 2012 and became a Chapter member of Internal Society for DOHaD in 2014. The New Zealand–Japan Joint Seminar for DOHaD Epigenetics & Cohort Research, sponsored by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, was held on February 2–3, 2016 at Liggins Institute, University of Auckland, New Zealand. In total, 14 Japanese and 17 New Zealand DOHaD researchers, including young trainees, joined in the meeting. At this seminar, participants presented original studies of DOHaD epigenetics, animal models and potential for interventions. Simultaneously, they discussed opportunities for future collaboration between the countries including human cohort studies, DOHaD education and research for revealing biological mechanisms of DOHaD. Following this seminar, Prof. Frank Bloomfield and Dr Justin O’Sullivan from Liggins Institute gave special lectures at the international symposium in the 5th Annual Meeting of DOHaD-Japan in July 2016 in Tokyo, Japan. Through these collaborations, we produced the themed issue ‘Cooperation between New Zealand and Japanese DOHaD society’. Within this issue, Hiroaki Itoh provides perspectives for future collaboration between New Zealand and Japan for DOHaD Research whereas Masahito Oyamada, Jacquie Bay et al. focused on DOHaD education in both New Zealand and Japan. Justin O’Sullivan reviews genome organization during development and how genetic variation affect the developmental origins of disease. Finally, the latest DOHaD research and recognition at clinical sites are reviewed by Keiji Suzuki. The work contained in this Themed Issue provides progress into DOHaD research in New Zealand and Japan and presents a framework for future collaborative work among countries.