I'm using j2se 1.5, commented out all the setNextFocusableComponent calls and changed the show to setVisible and your code compiled and ran okay. The reverse tabbing worked well this way. Check the JComponent api Method Detail for getNextFocusableComponent. It is deprecated as of j2se 1.4. If your api doesn't have the link to the new focus system page, here it is: How to use the Focus SubSystem.