Raman spectra of whole blood and oxy-hemoglobin (Hb) were measured under the same conditions with visible (514.5 nm) and near-infrared (NIR; 720 and 1064 nm) excitation, and the obtained spectra were compared in detail. The Raman spectrum of blood excited with visible light is dominated by very intense bands due to carotenoids, so that it was difficult to obtain information about Hb from the spectrum. The Raman spectra of whole blood and oxy-Hb excited with 720 nm light are very close to each other; both spectra are essentially Raman spectra of the heme chromophore that is preresonant with Q bands. Qualitative spectral analysis including band assignment and investigation of nature of resonance effect were carried out for the Raman spectra with 720 nm excitation. The spectra of whole blood and oxy-Hb excited with 1064 nm light contain contributions from nonresonance Raman spectra of the heme chromophore and Raman spectra of proteins. The 1064 nm excited spectra of blood and oxy-Hb are similar to each other but different in some features. For example, bands due to protein appear stronger in the spectrum of whole blood than in that of oxy-Hb which does not contain protein except globin part. The comparison between the 514.5, 720, and 1064 nm excited Raman spectra reveal that the excitation wavelength of 720 nm is more practical than that of visible light and 1064 nm in the Raman analysis of Hb, such as oxygenation, specially in situ measurement. © 2001 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers.