Topre Corporation
Native name
FormerlyTokyo Press Kogyo Co. Ltd.
TypeEngineering, manufacturing
TYO: 5975
IndustryRefrigeration, auto parts, computer peripherals
FoundedApril 1935; 88 years ago (1935-04) in Tokyo

Topre Corporation (東プレ株式会社, Tōpure Kabushiki-gaisha) is a Japanese engineering company that manufactures stamped parts for automobiles, refrigeration units for trucks, air conditioners, and various other electronic and electro-mechanical equipment.[1] It was founded in 1935 as Tokyo Press Kogyo Co. Ltd., in Kōtō, Tokyo.


JR East carrier truck with Topre refrigeration unit
JR East carrier truck with Topre refrigeration unit

Topre was founded in April 1935 as the Tokyo Press Kogyo Co. Ltd. with a capital of JP¥300,000.[2][3] From the 1930s until around the mid-1970s, the company was focused on low-tech tool and die manufacturing.[4] In 1958, it acquired Tokyo Die-Cast Co. Ltd. and within the next four years set up two die-cast plants in Kanagawa and Hiroshima.[3]

Topre conical keyboard switch spring
Topre conical keyboard switch spring

In 1976, Tokyo Press Kogyo began a venture into electronics with keyboards for computer terminals. The first several of their prototype designs were unsuccessful with technology companies within Japan being reluctant to order them into production. In the late 1970s, a young engineer inspired by the katori senkō—a Japanese mosquito coil—devised a conical-spring capacitive key switch which held promise with the company's executives.[4] After half a year of perfecting the design and another half a year of rigorous life-cycle testing, TPK took their keyboards to the Japanese market, earning orders from Hitachi, JVC, Ricoh, and others.

In 1981, TPK tasked salesperson Seiji Miwa, who set up an American office for the company three years prior, to market the design in the United States.[4][3] There he was able to win accounts for NCR and Memorex, who respectively ordered 1,500 and 10,000 units of their keyboard. In October that year, the company changed its name to Topre,[2] promoting Miwa to executive managing director of Topre's new Research and Development subsidiary.[4]

By 1985, its Tokyo manufacturing plant was producing 30,000 units a month.[4] At up to US$90 per keyboard (equivalent to $244.88 in 2022) in 1985, Topre's keyboards were costlier than others, which along with its overseas manufacturing put the company's ability to compete with other keyboard manufacturers in the United States into question at the time.[4] Topre's capacitive key switches are still being manufactured for some Japanese keyboards, most notably the Happy Hacking Keyboard, as well as Topre's own Realforce. Albeit still costly,[5][6] with Computer Shopper calling the Realforce too bland otherwise to justify the high price,[7] keyboards with Topre switches are renowned by keyboard enthusiasts for their tactile feel,[5][6] with David Hayward of Micro Mart calling the Realforce the "Aston Martin One-77 of the keyboard world."[8]

Topre was a manufacturer of bumpers and dashboards for Nissan, Isuzu, and Honda automobiles in the 1990s.[9] In June 2000, Topre gained Toyota as a client and started construction of a ¥2.5 billion plant in Fukuoka Prefecture for the manufacturing of pressed parts for Nissan and Toyota.[3] Their automotive manufacturing division made the move to the United States in 2005, with the opening of a plant in Cullman, Alabama, with a budget of $132 million.[10][11] They set up shop in Nissan's factory in Smyrna, Tennessee, in 2012 as a small operation,[12] later moving to their own factory in the city in 2015,[13] purchasing an additional 35 acres of factory space in 2019.[14] In 2014, Topre moved their production of Nissan parts closer to the aforementioned company's factory in Canton, Mississippi, while retaining their Cullman plant.[15] They also have an automotive parts factory in Springfield, Ohio.[16]

Topre's long-standing chairman Kyohei Ishii died in 2018.[17]


  1. ^ "Topre Corp". WSJ Markets. Dow Jones & Company. Archived from the original on October 6, 2021.
  2. ^ a b "Topre Corporation (5975.T) Company Profile & Facts". Yahoo! Finance. Yahoo!. Archived from the original on October 6, 2021.
  3. ^ a b c d "Topre Corporation". MarkLines Automotive Industry Portal. Archived from the original on October 6, 2021.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Tharp, Mike (September 23, 1985). "Success Story: One Man from Japan Gains U.S. Beachhead for His Tokyo Firm". The Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones & Company. p. 1 – via ProQuest.
  5. ^ a b Epstein, Mike (March 31, 2020). "Happy Hacking Professional Hybrid Wireless Mechanical Keyboard". PC Magazine. Ziff-Davis. Archived from the original on March 31, 2020.
  6. ^ a b Dingman, Hayden (October 4, 2019). "Realforce RGB gaming keyboard review: Even for Topre fans this is a tough call". PCWorld. IDG Communications. Archived from the original on October 6, 2021.
  7. ^ Staff writer (January 2018). "Taking Ctrl". Computer Shopper. Dennis Publishing (359): 107 – via ProQuest.
  8. ^ Hayward, David (March 5, 2014). "Topre Realforce 88UB". Micro Mart. Dennis Publishing (1300): 49 – via ProQuest.
  9. ^ Mann, D. (1999). Automotive Plastics and Composites: Worldwide Markets and Trends to 2007. Elsevier Science. p. 381. ISBN 9780080527741 – via Google Books.
  10. ^ Hyland, Tricia (February 2005). "Manufacturer to Site New Plant in Cullman: Highly Educated Work Force Helps Attract North Vernon Industry to Alabama Metro". Expansion Management. Penton Media. 20 (2): 40 – via Gale OneFile.
  11. ^ Mathews, Kathryn (November 2002). "Top 25 U.S. Business Projects (Based on New Jobs)". Plants, Sites & Parks. Reed Business Information. 29 (5): 27 – via Gale OneFile.
  12. ^ Snyder, Eric (January 13, 2012). "Topre America to open inside Nissan's Smyrna facility". Nashville Business Journal. American City Business Journals. Archived from the original on October 14, 2013.
  13. ^ Staff writer (February 28, 2018). "Nissan supplier to add 50 jobs in Smyrna". Nashville Post. Archived from the original on October 6, 2021.
  14. ^ Choi, Joseph (November 11, 2019). "Topre America plans $63 million expansion, 51 new jobs in Smyrna". Daily News Journal. Gannett Company. Archived from the original on November 13, 2019.
  15. ^ Mann, W.C. (June 20, 2017). "Topre America expanding operation: larger facility, new jobs". The Cullman Tribune. Humble Roots. Archived from the original on October 6, 2021.
  16. ^ Bush, John (September 12, 2019). "Auto supplier announces third major expansion of Springfield facility". Dayton Business Journal. American City Business Journals. Archived from the original on October 6, 2021.
  17. ^ Uchigasaki, Shinichiro (June 6, 2018). "Notice of Convocation of the 123rd Ordinary General Meeting of Shareholders" (PDF). Topre Corporation. p. 22.