Cerezo got its start in 1965, as the club team of Yanmar Diesel. Yanmar quickly established itself as a formidable contender in the Japan Soccer League, winning the league championship four times, the league cup three times and the Emperor's Cup twice during the 1970s and early 1980s. Yanmar entered a slump in the late 1980s, and was briefly demoted to the second division, but immediately prior to the formation of the J.League in 1993, the club revived, gaining admission to the JFL in the same year that the J.League was formed. It incorporated as Osaka Football Club Ltd. in 1993, and adopted its current name
In 1993, when it gained its independence from Yanmar, the team adopted the name "Cerezo Osaka", taken from the Spanish word for "cherry". Osaka -- and all of Japan, for that matter -- is well known for its beautiful cherry trees which blossom in a pink profusion during the early spring. The cherry blossoms of Osaka not only inspired the team to adopt the name "Cerezo", but also inspired the colour scheme for its team uniforms and earned it the nickname "The Flaming Pinks". A year after adopting its new identity, in 1994, Cerezo won the JFL championship and was inducted into the J.League.