NEC M-System keyboards History

By Xah Lee. Date: . Last updated: .

In 1983, NEC 日本電気 came out with a new keyboard and new Japanese input system, called M-system (M式), designed by Dr. Masasuke Morita at NEC.

M-system is 2 things:

  1. A physical keyboard design that has 4 or more thumb keys, and symmeric (typically have dedicated sections for left hand and hand).
  2. A efficient Japanese input system. It's a romanji input system. (you type English Letter then convert to kata (Japanese alphabet)) The English letter arrangement is optimized for kana.

Over the years, there are several M-system keyboard designs. Here's a list of them.

japanese ergonomic keyboards
[写真で見る歴史的なコンピュータ~「情報技術のエポック展」レポート【訂正版】 By Impress Corporation. At http://pc.watch.impress.co.jp/docs/article/20010313/ipsj.htm , accessed on 2013-01-21 ]
NEC PC 8801 K1 keyboard bj3qh-s333x188
NEC PC-8801-KI, 1983
NEC NWP 98 p5bjf
NEC NWP 98
NEC mini7 mqjdk-s306x204
NEC 文豪 Mini7, 1985
nec m-type keyboard 1990 36618-s278x225
NEC M-system, 1990
NEC mini7rm 48190-s306x204
NEC 文豪 Mini7RM, 1992
NEC M-shiki keyboard NEC PC98 1992-s333x188
NEC PC-9801, 1992
NEC keyboard pk-kb015 2-s320x195
NEC Ergofit, 1998

Reference

2020-05-06 Thanks to NimShiko [https://medium.com/@elderiomeersky] for correction.

Japan keyboards

Japan FKB8579 661 thumb shift keyboard 45474 s335x187
Thumb-Shift, 1980
NEC PC 8801 K1 keyboard bj3qh-s333x188
NEC PC-8801-KI, 1983
NEC mini7 mqjdk-s306x204
NEC 文豪 Mini7, 1985
TRON Keyboard Unit TK1 s1520x831
TRON, 1986
nec m-type keyboard 1990 36618-s278x225
NEC M-system, 1990
NEC mini7rm 48190-s306x204
NEC 文豪 Mini7RM, 1992
NEC M-shiki keyboard NEC PC98 1992-s333x188
NEC PC-9801, 1992
NEC keyboard pk-kb015 2-s320x195
NEC Ergofit, 1998
scythe ergo diver keyboard left s289x217
Scythe Ergo Diver, ~2003
utron keyboard 02-s289x217
μTRON, 2007
Esrille keyboard 40445-s289x217
Esrille New

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