Ice core records of polar temperatures and greenhouse gases document abrupt millennial-scale oscillations that suggest the reduction or shutdown of thermohaline Circulation (THC) in the North Atlantic Ocean may induce the abrupt cooling in the northern hemisphere. It remains unknown, however, whether the sea surface temperature (SST) is cooling or warming in the Kuroshio of the Northwestern Pacific during the cooling event. Here we present an AMS 14C-dated foraminiferal Mg/Ca SST record from the central Okinawa Trough and document that the SST variations exhibit two steps of warming since 21 ka — at 14.7 ka and 12.8 ka, and a cooling (?1.5°C) during the interval of the Younger Dryas. By contrast, we observed no SST change or oceanic warming (?1.5–2°C) during the episodes of Northern Hemisphere cooling between ?21–40 ka. We therefore suggest that the “Antarctic-like” timing and amplitude of millennial-scale SST variations in the subtropical Northwestern Pacific between 20–40 ka may have been determined by rapid ocean adjustment processes in response to abrupt wind stress and meridional temperature gradient changes in the North Pacific.