Species whose geographical distribution encompasses both mainland and island populations provide an ideal system for examining isolation and genetic divergence. In this study, paternally transmitted chloroplast DNA (cpDNA) and maternally transmitted mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) were used to estimate population structure and phylogeography of Pinus luchuensis, a species found in eastern China (ssp. hwangshanensis), Taiwan (ssp. taiwanensis), and the Ryukyu Archipelago (ssp. luchuensis). Gene genealogies of both mtDNA and cpDNA reveal two major lineages. Molecular dating indicates that these lineages diverged before the colonization of P. luchuensis subspecies in Taiwan and the Ryukyu Archipelago. Both mtDNA and cpDNA show a lack of correspondence between molecular phylogeny and subspecies designation. Phylogeographical analysis suggests that paraphyly of the subspecies is the result of recent divergence rather than secondary contacts. In spite of the short divergence history of P. luchuensis on islands, the island populations show the same degree of genetic divergence as mainland populations. Low levels of genetic diversity in the mainland ssp. hwangshanensis suggest demographic bottlenecks. In contrast, the high heterogeneity of genetic composition for island populations is likely to be associated with a history of multiple colonization from the mainland. The spatial apportionment of organelle DNA polymorphisms is consistent with a pattern of stepwise colonization on island populations.