White mica (phengite and paragonite) K–Ar ages of eclogite-facies Sanbagawa metamorphic rocks (15 eclogitic rocks and eight associated pelitic schists) from four different localities yielded ages of 84–89 Ma (Seba, central Shikoku), 78–80 Ma (Nishi-Iratsu, central Shikoku), 123 and 136 Ma (Gongen, central Shikoku), and 82–88 Ma (Kotsu/Bizan, eastern Shikoku). With the exception of a quartz-rich kyanite-bearing eclogite from Gongen, white mica ages overlap with the previously known range of phengite K–Ar ages of pelitic schists of the Sanbagawa metamorphic belt and can be distinguished from those of the Shimanto metamorphic belt. The similarity of K–Ar ages between the eclogites and surrounding pelitic schists supports a geological setting wherein the eclogites experienced intense ductile deformation with pelitic schists during exhumation. In contrast, phengite extracted from the Gongen eclogite, which is less overprinted by a ductile shear deformation during exhumation, yielded significantly older ages. Given that the Gongen eclogite is enclosed by the Higashi-Akaishi meta-peridotite body, these K–Ar ages are attributed to excess 40Ar gained during an interaction between the eclogite and host meta-peridotite with mantle-derived noble gas (very high 40Ar/36Ar ratio) at eclogite-facies depth. Fluid exchange between deep-subducted sediments and mantle material might have enhanced the gain of mantle-derived extreme 40Ar in the meta-sediment. Although dynamic recrystallization of white mica can reset the Ar isotope system, limited-argon-depletion due to lesser degrees of ductile shear deformation of the Gongen eclogite might have prevented complete release of the trapped excess argon from phengites. This observation supports a model of deformation-controlled K–Ar closure temperature.