1 About the Yonezawa Brand

  The Yonezawa Brand initiative was created to bring life to our slogan of ‘Yonezawa Quality: a testimony to the spirit of Challenge and Creation.’ and was envisioned as a way to work with citizens to improve the quality of local services and institutions – such as those relating to local produce, the service industry, tourism, cultural facilities and administration. Our aim is to improve Yonezawa as a whole as well as the livelihoods of our citizens – with a further aim to promote an increase in the population of our city.
  So far, the citizens of Yonezawa have actively been involved in the exchange of ideas and opinions that have molded the brand concept. Moving into the future, we endeavor to continue to create a ‘Yonezawa Brand’ and ‘Yonezawa Quality’with which the citizens who love Yonezawa can be involved .

‘Yonezawa’s future can only be made by those who love Yonezawa’

  We have set out to  pinpoint what we consider the essence of ‘Yonezawa’ and with that in mind create an ‘initiative,’ through which we can continue to share and focus on the things, people, and ideas needed to improve our city. This site will continue to release information supporting this group.

2 An announcement regarding the next stage of Yonezawa ‘Challenge and Creation’


Yonezawa City Mayor
  In order to create a brighter future for the city of Yonezawa, we have taken to heart the teachings of the former lord Uesugi Yozan and the spirit of his teachings ‘Nasebanaru’ (If you put your mind to it, you can do it) – with this idea of challenge and creation we aim to turn our eyes to the future and pave the way for Yonezawa’s next generation.

  We plan on creating a new type of ‘Yonezawa Quality’ that will lead to a better tomorrow for Yonezawa – one that highlights the efforts of every individual and puts focus on what it means to be a part of Yonezawa’s culture.

  Our city aims to work with its residents and create a team to improve and better the quality of Yonezawa as a whole – from industry, artistry, and business – even to the livability of our city.

  Therefore, as a representative of Yonezawa City and its people, I declare today the start of a joint movement aimed towards challenge and creation, focused on building a better future.

November 2nd 2018
Yonezawa City Mayor

3 About the Yonezawa Brand Concept

  We have decided on our Brand Concept, something that comprises of our most important fundamental principles. This concept pertains to our “Yonezawa Brand Strategy” projects, which advance projects based in Yonezawa Brand Strategies.

Yonezawa Brand Concept
Through the power of “Challenge and Creation” passed down to us in the DNA of Uesugi Yozan, we will create the following Yonezawa:

 In the face of the progression of declining birth rates and an ageing population, in addition to technology evolving at unprecedented speeds, Japan will be required to make drastic changes in all areas, from daily life to industry, in the next era of its history. Our city Yonezawa as well faces a time in which we are called to overcome the linked problems of urbanization→regional depopulation→regional economic decline. We must implement large-scale changes so that Yonezawa is still a lively and vibrant city full of activity for our citizens 10 years onward. As a region, we aim to utilize our strengths and unique characteristics to forge a new future as a part of Japan’s “Regional Development.”
“Well then, when you think of Yonezawa’s future, what is at the heart of what makes Yonezawa, Yonezawa?”
 When our citizens were posed with this question, many answered that the teaching of ‘Nasebanaru’ (If you put your mind to it, you can do it) and the culture passed down from Yonezawa’s former feudal lord Uesugi Yozan embodied the spirit of Yonezawa.
 Around 250 years ago, Uesugi Yozan delivered inventive administrative reforms that revitalized the local infrastructure and created unprecedented new steps forward in industry. Many of the citizens of our city believe that this spirit of ‘Challenge and Creation’ is needed once again today. With his spirit of ‘Challenge and Creation,’ Uesugi Yozan lifted Yonezawa citizens out of poverty and into a life of abundance. This is not to mention how former U.S. president J.F. Kennedy spoke of Uesugi Yozan as being ‘the Japanese politician I most respect.’ Uesugi Yozan’s spirit of ‘Challenge and Creation’ lives on in the mind and bodies of the people of Yonezawa today. It is no coincidence that throughout the history of Yonezawa our citizens have gone on to create such specialties as Yonezawa Beef, Yonezawa textiles – and even made waves in the world of technology such as the creation of synthetic fibers such as rayon, as well as developing laptop computers and EL (electroluminescent) technology.
 Just as Uesugi Yonezawa did before, in order to create a better future for Yonezawa in the coming decades, the city and its citizens will join together and take the first step towards facing the changes of the next era through the spirit of ‘Challenge and Creation.’ Even in times of hardship the bountiful nature of Yonezawa’s distinct four seasons provides relief. It is by protecting that irreplaceable nature and creating a legacy for the people of Yonezawa based on quality that the knowledge, will, and skill of our Yonezawa citizens will continue to heighten and concentrate together. At the same time, we aim to raise the next generation to focus on ‘Challenge and Creation’ and make sure the products created in Yonezawa reach a never-before-seen level of quality. We also want to impress those who come to Yonezawa to an extent they never have been before. We endeavor to focus on new technologies that will connect us to the next era, and work to be the place where the next new innovations are discovered. As such, we want to create a city that anyone – be they children, young or old can enjoy – whether they moved here or were born here. In a Yonezawa that our citizens will have chosen with pride and confidence, the DNA of ‘Challenge and Creation’ will create a quality and work force only possible in Yonezawa and hopefully give Yonezawa new value, appeal, and vigor unseen anywhere else in Japan.

4 The Yonezawa Brand Slogan and Logo

  The Yonezawa Brand concept was finalized in December 2017, based on feedback we heard in citizen workshops we held in July earlier that year. Following this, after receiving further opinions from citizens in public meetings and over 10 project team meetings with citizen participants– our slogan was decided by vote on May 23rd, 2018 during a Yonezawa Brand Meeting. We would like to thank all the people of Yonezawa who participated in our meetings during this period.
 Our Yonezawa brand slogan was chosen to not just focus on the ‘things’ created in Yonezawa, but to also shine light on those ‘ideas’ and the ‘people’ involved in Yonezawa as well.


Brand Slogan/Logo 挑戦と創造のあかし「米沢品質」
Yonezawa Quality: a testimony to the spirit of Challenge and Creation


5 Continuation and Betterment of Yonezawa Quality

  The Yonezawa Quality improvement initiative is a structure established to foster values appropriate to the spirit of ‘Challenge and Creation,’ in addition to shaping, polishing, supporting, and nurturing the structure of the initiative itself. This initiative sets out to work within the cycle of ‘Raising Awareness Among Citizens’ → ‘Materializing Challenge and Creation’ → ‘Realizing High Quality Ideas and Products’ – a cycle that will then repeat itself naturally.
 This initiative that will create the future of Yonezawa has been called ‘TEAM NEXT YONEZAWA’ and any party who endeavors to embody the concept of ‘Challenge and Creation’ can register to be a part of it. The city and its citizens shall work together to refine and improve the quality of Yonezawa.

6 About the Yonezawa Quality Award

The Yonezawa Quality Award
  •   The Yonezawa Quality Award is an award born of the Yonezawa Quality improvement initiative for products or services that embody the spirit of ‘Challenge and Creation’ to a high degree and are of outstanding ‘Yonezawa Quality.’
Application information
  • (1) Eligible Applicants in the 2024 Cycle: Those who have been issued a TEAM NEXT YONEZAWA registration card on or before June 14th, 2024.
  • (2) Application Process: Submit the following 10 application components through the Yonezawa Brand official website.
    ①Outline of your service or product ②Your own story of ‘Challenge and Creation ③ How you plan to increase the quality of your service or product ④The uniqueness or value of your product or service ⑤The response to your product or service ⑥The means in which you broadcast information about your prouduct or service ⑦Method of assessing response to your product or service ⑧Your plan for the future ⑨Your contribution to Yonezawa ⑩【For reference, unevaluated】How your product or service incorporates the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
Judging Criteria
  •   The above 10 criteria will be reviewed under 5 specific judging criteria by our judging panel- who will decide whether your product or service matches the qualifications for a “Yonezawa Quality Award”. Furthermore, Yonezawa Brand ‘supporters’ will supplement components that may be outside the scope of external judges, such as local recognition/response or support comments that reflect the current state of Yonezawa.
Judging Criteria Main Points
  • (1) Whether the applicant has exceled in envisioning the spirit of ‘Challenge and Creation’ / How the applicant overcame obstacles or problems.
  • (2) What form of ‘Exceptional Quality’ or ‘Values’ their product/service has / Whether it has features that stand out when compared to rivals both domestic and abroad.
  • (3) Problem-Solving/Effort Exhibited (Sales/Activities, External Evaluation) / Whether numerical and objective results can be presented.
  • (4) Yonezawa Brand Improvement Potential / Whether the product or service can be expected to contribute to an increased awareness in or improved impressions of Yonezawa
  • (5)  Degree of expectation for further progress in the future (Planning, Motivation) / Will the applicant continue to make developments in the next 5, 10 years.
Yonezawa Quality AWARD Committee
  •  Mr. NAGAI Kazufumi will act as the chairperson for the Yonezawa Brand Award Committee, the third party organization that will judge the “Yonezawa Quality Award.” 
  •  Products and services will be judged from an objective standpoint as to whether they embody the spirit of ‘Challenge and Creation’ to a high degree and are of outstanding ‘Yonezawa Quality.’
  •  External judges will use their own knowledge and experience not just in judging for the award but also to give award applicants advice and support to improve the quality of their product/service. Also for members of TEAM NEXT YONEZAWA – meetings with those external judges can also be arranged.
  •  Internal (local) judges will fulfill the need of understanding points and concepts that would not be possible for external judges – providing understanding at a local level.
  •  Yonezawa Brand ‘Supporters’ will provide a perspective unique to local residents, as such to reach a verdict regarding the ‘Yonezawa Quality Award’ which citizens of the area will find appropriate