While there were variations in shape within the Shinto period, the classic styleis that of the Kanbun era (mid 1600's). Blades are made in katana length, circa26-29 inches, but stouter and with very little curvature and chu-kissaki. Kanbunstyle blades are nearly straight and quite robust. Many swords of this era arefound in collections today.By the late Edo period, sword making was in decline due to the decreaseddemand for swords in a country at peace. Many were made more for show thancombat having wild, flamboyant hamon and intricate horimono (carvings). Somescholars consider this a period of decadence for the Japanese sword.When ever extremes appear there is usually a reverse trend to correct theextreme. This is the case in the late Edo period (circa 1780) and marks thebeginning of the Shinshinto sword period. The swordsmith Suishinshi Masahideis generally credited with leading a rival of sword making, promoting a return tothe styles and methods of the Koto period. During the Shinshinto era swords of all styles are made as copies of Koto blades, but most are copies of shortenedtachi blades of the mid to late Muromachi era. Some Kogarasu revivals weremade during the Shinshinto period.With the opening of Japan to the West by Perry in the mid NineteenthCentury and the Meiji Restoration, the traditional Japanese sword nearly ceasesto exist. The Meiji Emperor bans the wearing of swords and abolishes thesamurai class. Swords after 1876 can not properly be called samurai swords asthere were no samurai after that date. This also marks the first large exodus of Japanese swords to the West with many of the largest early English andAmerican collections being assembled during this time. Few traditional swordsare made except for special occasions or temple dedications as the Japanesestarted adopting western style cavalry sabers which were machine made. It isnot until the 1930's with the period of Japanese expansion into other parts of Asia that swords of the classic style are again made.The Showa Era sees a great variety in quality of sword production, fromtraditionally made Nihonto (gendai blades) to bar stock, machine made swords(Showato) with all variations in between. Most blades are made to a militarystandard with blades between 25-28 inches in length, having only slight sori,almost no taper (funbari)and chu-kissaki (medium points). The student of theJapanese sword must learn to distinguish between non-traditionally madeswords and true gendai blades. While non-traditional blades are of historicalinterest to militaria collectors and make perfectly fine swords for martial artsuse, they are of little interest to collectors of Nihonto. The great variation inmethods of production during the Showa Era makes this an area of muchneeded research.