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Hatsuko Electronics HEKB01

The Hatsuko Electronics HEKB01 aka Data Entry Machine EM986 is a Topre board with an early-mid '80s layout but actually released in 1995.
Published February 5, 2022

I'm quite confused about this model which is like a tribute to the pre-'84, pre-standard keyboards with soul.

The photo was posted by a bot on Twitter – without any info or context. Fortunately, the label on the case clearly states "Data Entry Machine EM986", so after a quick Google search you can find some info and more photos of this beauty.

Despite the pretty obvious hallmark, various sources call this model the Hatsuko or Hatsukoh Electronics HEKB01 – where HEKB apparently stands for Hatsuko(h) Electronics Keyboard. (The website of the company uses the Hatsukoh romanization.)

This keyboard was made by Topre/NSD and came with dye-sublimated HiPro keycaps sporting katakana sublegends.

The strange thing about this keyboard is: its host, the Data Entry Machine 486, was released in 1995 (source). This means the keyboard itself should be of the same age, or it was reused from another project.

This theory makes sense because of the layout and the overall features: by the time of its release, both the inverted T arrow cluster, and the standard layout / DIN keyboard standards had been around for more than a decade.

More photos in this Deskthority thread:

And more info in the Deskthority wiki page:

Published on Sat 5th Feb 2022. Featured in KBD #64 (source).

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