Yonex The Brand
Yonex Co., Ltd. is a Japanese sports equipment manufacturing company.
Yonex produces sports equipment and apparel for sports like tennis, badminton, golf, running, and many more. Yonex also produces athletic shoes and a wide range of apparel.
In 1946, Yonex was founded in a snow-covered village in Niigata, Japan, by Mr. Minoru Yoneyama, who was born in 1924 and died in 2019 in Nagaoka, Niigata, Japan.
In 1946, just after the end of World War II, Yonex marked its beginnings as Yoneyama Company, Ltd., as a producer of wooden floats for fishing nets.
The company was later forced out of this market because of the invention of plastic floats. This led to a commitment by Yoneyama to never again be left behind by technological advancements.
The Yoneyama Company evolved into manufacturing badminton racquets in 1957 as an OEM for the Sanbata racquet brand.
With Sanbata’s bankruptcy in 1961 and Yoneyama’s manufacturing headquarters burning down in 1963, the 1960s truly tested the spirit of creating chances within tough situations. Despite these setbacks, Yoneyama established Yoneyama Sports Co., Ltd. to manufacture Yoneyama-branded racquets, rebuilt the factory in three days, and expanded its business to the United States and Europe during this pivotal decade.
In 1961, the first Yonex-branded racquet was introduced, and within another two years, an export company was created for the worldwide distribution. After that, the company began to make aluminium badminton racquets.
In 1965, the Tokyo Factory opened its doors to manufacture shuttlecocks; now, Yonex is the official tournament shuttle of all Badminton World Federation (BWF) Major Events, as well as the Olympic Games since 1992 in Barcelona.
The company expanded into the tennis industry with the aluminium T-7000 racquet. To improve upon the widely popular T-7000, Yonex developed the Oval Pressed Shaft (OPS), which created a stronger, more stable racquet and was implemented in the T-7500.
In 1973, the “YY Yoneyama” logo was introduced, and eight-time (seven consecutive) All England Open Badminton Champion and badminton icon Rudy Hartono began competing with Yonex.
The following year, the company began manufacturing wooden tennis racquets and signed Tony Roche, the fourteen-time major champion from Australia.
In 1978, the first badminton racquets weighing under 100g were launched as the B-8500 and Carbonex 8.
In 1980, the company was renamed Yonex Co., Ltd. Utilizing Yonex’s graphite technology, the company entered the golf business.
In 1984, the company became the title sponsor of the sport’s oldest and most prestigious tournament, the All England Open Badminton Championships.
In 1989, the company introduced the ADX 200 in the United States, the widebody graphite driver that changed the game of golf. The ADX 200 was recorded in the Guinness World Records as having the longest drive at 412 yards.
Borrowing from Yonex’s own signature square-shaped tennis racquet frame, the first “ISOMETRICT” badminton racquet in history was launched in 1992.
The company introduced the widebody badminton racket, the “Isometric 500“, a racquet that was much less “tear drop“-shaped than previous ones. The more “square” head gave it a much larger striking surface, which provides a larger “sweet spot” to hit the shuttle. It led other manufacturers to follow suit with “square-head” or isometric designs.
In 1993, finding a growing market, the Yonex Corporation (a wholly owned subsidiary) was established in Torrance, California, United States.
In 1994, the parent company was listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.
In 1998, Yonex revamped its logo to the current “YY Yonex” logo.
In 1999, Yonex began hosting the Yonex Ladies Open, a LPGA Japan Tour event (Ladies Professional Golfers’ Association of Japan), at the Yonex Country Club.
In 2007, Ryo Aono became the first Japanese snowboarder to win a gold medal at the Snowboard World Cup in halfpipe. Throughout his career, he goes on to win 12 World Cup titles and competes in two Olympic Games.
In 2009, the company became the longest-running title sponsor of the All England Open Badminton Championships.
Yonex enters two new businesses in Japan: sport bikes and wind turbine blades, further expanding on its carbon graphite technology.
In 2021, Yonex celebrated its 75th anniversary.
In 1973, the company began manufacturing wooden tennis racquets, which were signed by Tony Roche, the fourteen-time major champion from Australia.
In 1978 Yonex’s iconic square-shaped ISOMETRIC™ racquet was first introduced in 1980 with the launch of the R-1, R-2, and R-3. The same year, Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova began competing with Yonex.
In 1982, the company came out with the new oversized tennis racquets in the Rex series, the R-7 and R-10 racquets. At that time, Martina Navratilova played with the R-7 and was very successful. One year later, the new series rexking was developed with the R-22. Navratilova subsequently used the white RQ 180 widebody frame until the early 1990s.
In 1983, Martina Navratilova won the Australian Open, Wimbledon, and US Open in both singles and doubles with the best-selling R-22 racquet.
In 1990, Martina Navratilova claimed her 9th Wimbledon title with the widebody RQ-180, and in 1991, Monica Seles became the youngest female player to achieve a World No. 1 ranking.
In 1996, Martina Hingis gained prominence as the youngest major champion in history at 15 years old and continued on with a legendary career with Yonex gear.
In the early 2000s, Lleyton Hewitt became the youngest male World No. 1 in history and claimed two major singles titles to his name: the US Open in 2001 and Wimbledon in 2002.
At the 2016 Australian Open, Yonex became the first Japanese brand to provide stringing services for a major tennis tournament through the Yonex Stringing Team.