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The fact that swordsmiths started signing swords with a katana signature shows that some samurai of that time period had started wearing their swords in a different manner.
The rise in popularity of katana amongst samurai came about due to the changing nature of close-combat warfare.
Japanese swords are traditionally worn with the mei facing away from the wearer.
The evolution of the tachi into what would become the katana seems to have continued during the early Muromachi period (1337 to 1573).
Military action by Japan in China and Russia during the Meiji period helped revive interest in swords, but it was not until the Shōwa period that swords were produced on a large scale again.