In the past I wrote a blog stating in detail about how often, European swords were higher quality than katana, but that in this modern age, most swords which are well made are equals due to a lack of armor. Despite that post, I still love the katana. It is a nice sword to handle and it is also quite aesthetically pleasing.
As the title suggests, this post is about what NOT to buy when looking for a katana. It is important to be careful because the katana has reached a level of popularity beyond any other sword, including fantasy blades. This has led to millions of cheap wallhanger decorations that people buy thinking, “Wow! A cheap, real sword!” I felt much the same way when I was very young. At the age of thirteen, I learned from experience the difference between a real sword and a sword-like object (SLO). I bought a cheap set of “swords” at a flea market at that age and, even though I knew they were decorative, I still liked to play around with them. Pretty early on, the wakizashi and the katana came very loose. I learned that they had welded on rod tangs which were held into the handles by a nut and bolt. That is obviously not what you want.