Centromeric transcription has been shown to play an important role in centromere functions. However, lack of approaches to specifically manipulate centromeric transcription calls into question that the proposed functions are a direct consequence of centromeric transcription. By monitoring nascent RNAs, we found that several transcriptional inhibitors exhibited distinct, even opposing, efficacies on the suppression of ongoing gene and centromeric transcription in human cells, whereas under the same conditions, total centromeric RNAs were changed to a lesser extent. The inhibitor suppressing ongoing centromeric transcription weakened centromeric cohesion, whereas the inhibitor increasing ongoing centromeric transcription strengthened centromeric cohesion. Furthermore, expression of CENP-B DNA-binding domain or CENP-B knockdown moderately increased centromeric transcription without altering gene transcription; as a result, centromeric cohesion was accordingly strengthened. Targeting of the Kox1-KRAB domain with CENP-B DB to centromeres specifically decreased centromeric transcription and weakened centromeric cohesion. Thus, based on these findings, we propose that a major function of centromeric transcription is to maintain centromeric cohesion in human cells.