The name "Bellmare" is taken from the Italian words for "beautiful sea", and refers to the scenic coastline in the Shonan area, south-west of Yokohama. The team mascot, King Bell, seems to be a cross between a Disney character and the Greek God Poseidon, which is in keeping with the team's "ocean-related" theme.
The team's forerunner in the pre-J.League era, Fujita Industries, was one of the powerhouses in the Japan Soccer League during the late 1960s and 1970s. However, fans and team personnel alike are eager to forget these roots, given the way the parent company abandoned Bellmare in its hour of greatest need. Fujita joined the J.League initially in 1996, changing its name to Bellmare Hiratsuka. That incarnation of Bellmare had considerable success, and counted national team players among its members.
However, in 1999 during a financial crisis at the company, Fujita cut off all financial support and left Bellmare dangling over an abyss. Only heroic efforts by some management personnel and fan clubs, with support from the League, allowed the team to locate new investors and rescue Bellmare from collapse. The name was changed to Shonan Bellmare, referring to the entire coastal area surrounding Hiratsuka, where the stadium is located.