Since fighting and wars continued throughout
Later on, in the beginning of the Momoyama period (1568-1603), there was the evolution of the Uchigatana into a pair of blades that could be worn at the waist. The large sword was called a katana and the shorter one a wakizashi. The blades of these swords had a wider hamon and appeared in a more flashy way than was known on the tachi swords. The steel was more brighter and shiny and the texture of the steel was different of that of the Koto (old school) blades. The were no longer recognizable as having come from one of the five main schools and are sometimes considered as the 6e, the Shinto school.
Blades that date back from the Meiji times are called Gendaito or modern swords. Many of these blades were mass produced for officers in the imperial army. A lot of these swords had no hamon and were of a poor quality. The had the shape and the look of the traditional swords but didn’t had any hallmark when compared to the traditional hand forged tamahagane blades. The were not differentionally hardened and didn’t show any interesting grain pattern or texture in the blade. When any kind of these swords are found these days, the government requires that they need to be destroyed.
To prevent the production of ‘cheap’ Japanese swords with no aesthetic value on a large scale, the Japanese government decided to regulate the making of real swords. Following rules are still in effect today:
- Only a licensed smith can make a Japanese sword. The definitions of a katana : any cutting instrument with a blade over 15 cm (6 inches) with a hamon and a rivet hole in the tang.
- A licensed smith can produce a maximum of two long swords (over 61cm or 2 feet) or 3 short swords per month
- All swords must be registered with the police