JEF United can trace its history to the Furukawa Electric football club which was one of the dominant teams of the old Japan Soccer League. Furukawa can boast five Emperor's Cup titles and three second-place finishes, ranking it with Mitsubishi, Nissan and Yomiuri as the predominant teams in the old league. However, Furukawa Electric was not a particularly large company, and even prior to the launch of the J.League, it was beginning to weaken for lack of financial support. JEF United owes its name to the fact that Furukawa looked around for additional financial backing, and received it from railway operator JR East. The initials of the companies -- JR, East and Furukawa were merged to create "JEF" and since the team was formed with the united support of two corporate sponsors, "JEF United" was deemed a suitable name.
The team took its logo and mascot from a Japanese pun -- the characters for the popular "Shiba" breed of dog (柴犬） can also be read as "Chiba ken" -- which is the same pronunciation as Chiba prefecture (OK... it isnt that funny in Japanese either. But it does solve the problem of choosing a mascot). In keeping with the idea of having two sponsors united in support of their team, JEF selected two mascots rather than one. The names of the two brothers are straightforward enough -- Jeffy and Unity -- but the uniform numbers they wear form yet another bad pun. Jeffy's #2 ("ni" in Japanese) and Unity's #9 ("ku" in Japanese) combine to form the word "ni-ku", which means "meat", which is eaten by dogs (as well as hungry JEF supporters). By now you are probably getting the picture. Though it has had its ups and downs over the years, club management at JEF United can often seem like a bad joke.