The sword became the symbol of the samurai code and even acquired further spiritual qualities. The shape of the sword and its making process have been improved and developed, especially during the period 900 to 1530 AD, when many small fiefdoms existed within Japan. Battles often happened and the sword was considered auseful weapon. Notably, however, it was during the peaceful Edo period that the shape and spirit of the sword was refined and connected with the sense of minimalist beauty embodied by bushido, explained in another post.
Ieyasu Tokugawa united the nation and started a new government system in 1603 which was the beginning of the Edo period. Through the era, a strict class system existed and the samurai were allowed to carry swords on their waists to show their affiliation with an aristocratic warrior class subservient only to the shogun. However, during the Edo period, which continued for about 270 years, there were almost no wars in the nation. Gradually, swords became slimmer and lighter. As its shape changed, the sword began to be treated as a symbol of the bushido spirit rather than as a mere weapon.
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