Why is YANMAR
involved in football?
YANMAR has been involved in football since the days when there was no professional league in Japan and it was just a minor sport.
The reason we were drawn to this sport is because football represents the organization-oriented approach and global reach that are essential for a company to develop.
Football is an organization-oriented sport in which each player must make decisions during the match based on team tactics, moving the ball with speed and timing, and in which managers, coaches, and captains must demonstrate unified leadership and foster team morale. We believe that there are elements in common between what is required to win a football match and what is required for a company to grow, and accordingly we have adopted many aspects of this sport into our corporate activities.
Football also has a global appeal, and YANMAR was the first football team to bring overseas players to Japan. Indeed, as early as the 1960s, we promoted the exchange of Brazilian and Japanese players (employees) as a means of cultivating the global nature of our organization.
Nowadays, as we develop our business globally, our sponsorship of Cerezo Osaka helps us to earn the trust of customers around the world.
Yanmar Diesel Soccer Club
The Yanmar Diesel Soccer Club was established in 1957, and subsequently joined the Japan Soccer League (precursor to the current J League) which was set up in 1965 to coincide with the first Tokyo Olympics.
With the Yanmar Diesel Soccer Club, YANMAR was the first organization in Japan to set up a fully integrated company sports program. Players (company employees) were able to finish work in the morning and practice during the afternoon, and holiday allowance was paid to players attending matches on Saturdays and Sundays. Yanmar Diesel Soccer Club was the first team to register overseas players to its roster, and also the first to strengthen the depth of its squad by establishing a 1st team and a 2nd team. The 2nd team started out under the name "Yanmar Club", and was the precursor to current J League team Gamba Osaka.
The 1970s were a golden era, with star strikers Kunishige Kamamoto and Nelson Yoshimura leading the team to four league titles and three Emperor’s Cup victories.
Kamamoto was a key player for both club and country, becoming the league’s top scorer six times, and scoring 7 goals at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics to win the Golden Boot award. Kamamoto remains the Japan national team’s all-time highest goal scorer, with a record of 75 goals in 76 appearances.
With the inauguration of the J.League in 1993, Cerezo Osaka (known as Osaka Soccer Club at the time) was established, and in 1994 won the JFL (Japan Football League) to earn promotion into the J League.
Establishment and Growth of Cerezo Osaka
Osaka Soccer Club was the precursor to the present day Cerezo Osaka. The team name Cerezo is derived from the Spanish word for ‘cherry blossom’, the flowers of which are symbolic of the city of Osaka.
Over the years, Cerezo Osaka’s roster has included many players who have represented Japan at international level. Among these are many players who started their careers at Cerezo Osaka, as well as those who came through the Cerezo academy. Players to pass through Cerezo in recent years include Shinji Kagawa (now at PAOK in Greece) who joined the club aged 17, and Takumi Minamino (now at Liverpool in England), making Cerezo Osaka a club that is renowned for producing world-class players.
During the 2017 season, Cerezo took its first two major titles, winning the YBC Levain Cup as well as the Emperor's Cup. In 2018, former Japan international and one-club-man Hiroaki Morishima was elected president of Cerezo’s operating company (Cerezo Osaka Co., ltd.). Morishima spent his entire playing career with Yanmar Diesel Soccer Club/Cerezo Osaka, earning him the nickname “Mr. Cerezo”.
The number 8 shirt worn by Morishima throughout his playing career carries a special honor, and is nowadays shouldered by key players who are indispensable to the team.
Football and YANMAR’s Corporate Culture
At YANMAR, football is more than just a sport - it’s part of our identity. For example, we have adopted 11 guiding principles called the “Yanmar Eleven”, which inform the day-to-day work of our employees.
Football also plays a major role in fostering a sense of unity throughout the entire Yanmar Group. Twice a year, Cerezo designates a "Yanmar Supporting Match" to which company employees are invited and are able to take part in pre-match events. Furthermore, we hold the annual “Yanmar Global Cup” football tournament, in which employees of divisions both in Japan and overseas enter teams and compete. The teams that win the preliminary rounds held in each region around the world are then invited to compete at the tournament finals held in Japan, fostering a sense of unity which transcends organizational and geographical boundaries.
Football is now the most popular sport in the world, played by more than 250 million people across more than 200 countries. Through football, with its power to transcend the boundaries of countries and language, we aim to realize a society that offers an exciting life filled with rich and fulfilling experiences.
We believe that football, with its organization-oriented approach and global appeal, will continue to be of vital importance for YANMAR as we aim to further grow our business around the world.