NEC 日本電気 M-Type keyboard

By Xah Lee. Date: . Last updated: .

Japan is the pioneer of thumb-key keyboards.


NEC 日本電気 Keyboard based on a then new Japanese language input system, called M-式 (M-type or M-system).

M-type is designed by Dr. Masasuke Morita at NEC in 1983.

NEC keyboard pk kb015 2
M-type keyboard designed by Masasuke Morita in 1983.

M-type is 2 things:

  1. A efficient English-Letter (romanji) based input system for inputing Japanese.
  2. A physical keyboard design.

Note that the vowels {E, U, I, A, O} are all on the left hand home row. This is similar to Dvorak Keyboard Layout.

For detail about Japanese input systems, see Japanese Keyboard Layouts

Over the years, there are several M-Type keyboard designs.

japanese ergonomic keyboards
«元日本電気特別顧問森田正典氏が考案したM型キーボード('83年~)。左に母音、右に子音を配置しキー配置の覚えやすさと、左右交互打鍵と複数文字列を単打鍵で入力できる複合キーにより、高速な日本語入力を実現したという。文豪などに搭載されたほか、PC-8801/9801用、Windows用が発売された» [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 , accessed on 2013-01-21 ]

Here's the translation (by Google translate)

Former Japanese electrical special adviser Morita Masanori M-type keyboard that Mr. devised ( '83 ~) . Vowel to the left , and remember the ease of key arrangement to place the consonants to the right , by a composite key in which you can enter the left and right alternately typing and multiple string with a single keystroke , that was realized a high-speed Japanese input . In addition to that it has been mounted on a great writer , for the PC-8801/9801, is for Windows was released

pk-kb015 NEC keyboard
Original M-System keyboard.
nec m type keyboard 1990 36618
NEC m-type keyboard 1990 [image source reddit]
NEC M shiki keyboard NEC PC98 1992
«M-type keyboard with compromised layout for NEC PC98 from 1992. It has Alps yellows and very heavy grey on top left key. —hasu 2013-02-22» image source
NEC keyboard pk-kb015 44167-s
4256×2832 [image source xixihaha2008 geekhack ]
NEC keyboard pk-kb015 65422-s
4256×2832 [image source xixihaha2008 geekhack ]
NEC keyboard pk-kb015 key-switch 78696-s
ALPS SKCL yellow switch. 4256×2832 [image source xixihaha2008 geekhack ]

More info about M-type keyboard:

[【NEC】 Keyboard based on new input system (M system) By Information Processing Society Of Japan. At]

Japan keyboards

  1. Japanese Keyboard Layouts
  2. Tiny Space Bar on Japanese Keyboards
  3. Esrille New Keyboard Review
  4. μTRON Keyboard
  5. TRON Keyboard
  6. Japan Thumb-Shift Keyboard
  7. NEC 日本電気 M-Type keyboard
  8. MSX Home Computer
  9. SANYO Medicom MC-KM5600B keyboard
  10. Sukerutoron ST-2000 Keyboard
  11. Japanese Hiragana Frequency Table
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