創造 [Sōzō] - to invent; to create with originality or innovation.
This was one of Minoru Yoneyama’s guiding words with which he truly lived by during his 70 year career. He lived and breathed blue and green until his peaceful passing on November 11, 2019.
Yoneyama founded what is now known as Yonex in 1946 in his hometown of Tsukayama in Niigata Prefecture, Japan. After surviving World War II and returning to his home where his mother and five brothers were living, he assumed the position as the head-of-household, supporting his family at the age of 22.
It was his front-line experiences from the war which drove Yoneyama to devote his life’s work to building a better world through sports. To Yoneyama, sport was one of the cultural vehicles that brought positivity and peace to the world.
Yoneyama specialized in the manufacturing of badminton, tennis, golf, and other sporting goods equipment, carefully crafting racquets, clubs, and strings in his own factories in Japan. Through developing innovative technologies like the square-head ISOMETRIC™ racquet, Yoneyama grew Yonex into a global brand represented by current and former World No. 1’s and World Champions with the likes of Martina Navratilova, Martina Hingis, Rudy Hartono, Kento Momota, and Naomi Osaka.
Beyond the development of sporting equipment, Yoneyama poured his passion into creating opportunities for juniors by personally investing in the establishment of the Yonex Sports Foundation (1998) and the Yoneyama Niigata Indoor Sports Foundation (2008). The fruits of his passion have started to blossom with juniors now competing on the world stage and being recognized as future contenders in their respective sport.
“Sports can bring peace to our world. I was given a path and an opportunity--to be a small part in contributing to world peace through the craftsmanship of sports equipment.”
- Minoru Yoneyama
Though he tirelessly traveled the world throughout his career, Yoneyama and Yonex never left its founding home in Niigata, Japan.
Minoru Yoneyama was a devoted creator and leader, and we would like to celebrate our founder’s vision and to continue carrying it forward as the foundation to our DNA.
For messages or inquiries, please contact press[at]yonex.co.jp.