Swords of that size were produced as offerings to temples and exhibited the maker's abilities. It is truly difficult, bordering on the impossible, to forge a sword of that length in a traditional manner. Long swords were used in the past, but none of that length. As far as I know, the only remaining school for great swords is the Kage ryu, and it is almost extinct ... http://www.hyoho.com/Nkage1.html
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Paul