Pros: Materials, Overall Quality, None
Cons: Handle Material, Usable, Blade Material
For Cutting Soft Targets ONLY
First let's get this straight: Paul Chen Japanese Style swords are "practice" swords, NOT weapons. If you want a good edged weapon get a Ka Bar, or a Cold Steel Tanto, or even a Spyderco. This sword is very pretty, and it's even razor sharp. However, it is not going to be of much use to you in a sword fight. A five dollar machete would snap this thin sword in two, or at least take a huge piece out of the edge. The reason that these swords are sharpened is for one purpose: cutting rolled up tatami mats. If I had heeded these words my PC might still be in one piece. The way in which this sword does qualify as authentic, is that it's lightweight enough to be drawn and wielded in the traditional way. A Cold Steel Katana for instance, while a real weapon, is slightly too heavy for proper Iaido or Kendo. Also, for its intended cutting purpose (tamishigiri) its actually quite good. So overall I think it qualifies as a good product. But if you want something inexpensive that allows you to employ your Kendo skills for home or personal defense, Get a good hardwood Bokken. Seriously.