Renofa Yamaguchi can trace its origins all the way back to 1949, as Yamaguchi Teachers Soccer Club, but it was only in 2004 that the team began thinking about a possible bid to join the professional ranks. Yamaguchi Prefecture had no other potential candidates for future J.League entry, so it was fairly easy to attract financial backing from the local government and companies based in the prefecture. Since the goal was to "renovate" the team, someone apparently said: "Hey I know . . . lets call the team "Renovate".
The idea caught on, but in order to register a trademark the word had to be revised slightly, and organizers eventually settled on the name Renofa. The team flag and emblem include a silhouette of a five-storied pagoda at Rurikoji Temple -- one of the region's most famous landmarks. The emblem also has a soccer ball embossed with a circle and three stars -- the family crest of a local clan that took part in the war that established a new government under the Meiji Emperor, in the mid-1800s. Considering all the other allusions to local history, it is a bit hard to understand the reasons why Renofa chose a lion named Reno-maru as its mascot. Although a lion is as good as any animal, there does not seem to be any specific meaning or symbolism connecting it to Yamaguchi, though the design is certainly cute enough to satisfy the local kids.