Kawasaki Frontale has a deep history, tracing its roots back to the Fujitsu company team, founded in 1955. They enjoyed reasonable success in the JSL, and just barely missed being included in the J.League at its inception. Fujitsu remained in the middle of the table in the JFL throughout the 1990s, and did not make much of an impression on the pitch, but both parent company and team managers saw the success that nearby J.League teams were enjoying, and decided to aim for professional status themselves. In 1996, almost two years before the J.League second division was formed, the team received its full independence from Fujitsu, and took the name Kawasaki Frontale.
The timing of this change - too late to enter the J.League while it still had only one division, but earlier than most other "second wave" teams - seems to be reflected in the casual, somewhat bureaucratic way the new team was established. Though the name sounds vaguely Italian, it doesn't translate accurately. It is supposed to mean "in front" (of the opposition) or "top class". The mascot is similarly confusing. At first nobody seemed to be exactly sure whether it is supposed to be a dolphin, a shark or a whale. It was not until the turn of the century that team literature had clarified that Fronta-kun is, in fact, a dolphin. Nevertheless, independence was a big boost for Frontale, who finished second in the old JFL's final (1998) season, and claimed the very first division two (J2) title, in 1999. There have been some ups and downs in the years since then, but Kawasaki Frontale has established itself as one of the more consistently competitive J.League teams.