Giravanz Kitakyushu got its start as Mitsubishi Chemical Kurosaki, a founding member of the Kyushu League, but it traces its independent history to 2001, when it cast off the Mitsubishi "company team" structure to become an independent, community based club. The team set its sights on one day earning a spot in the J.League, under the magnificent moniker of "New Wave Kitakyushu". Although the city of Kitakyushu is just 20km from Fukuoka, which already had a J.League team of its own, Kitakyushu City has always been more closely tied to Yamaguchi prefecture, just across the straits of Shimonoseki, than to the rest of Fukuoka prefecture. New Wave began to attract a strong fan base and made steady progress through the regional leagues and then the JFL.
Unfortunately, when it applied for associate J.League membership, New Wave Kitakyushu was informed that the term "New Wave" could not be registered as a trademark, and they would have to choose a new name In a typically inexplicable bit of "logic", the management decided to adopt the image of a sunflower as their organizing concept, and cobbled together a name consisting of the Italian words for "sunflower" (Girasole) and "advance" (Avanza), to create the name "Giravanz Kitakyushu". Though Giravanz adopted a logo that was also based on the sunflower, the New Wave mascot (a tattooed seagull named "Wavy") was so popular with fans that the team decided to keep him on board, though with a minor change in design.