What did the Japanese do with broken katanas?
You'd think that something as laborious to make as a katana would have some recycling culture surrounding it. The users surely didn't part with such blades lightly.
If you look at a wakisashi, they sure do look like short katanas. Were they repurposed that way? Did Japanese swordsmen sell off their broken katanas, which artisans then repurposed into cheap weapons for non-elite troops? Given the sheer expense of katanas, that would make sense. I can also see samurai giving their broken katanas to their servants, which would also tint such weapons with a distinctively lower-class association. Or not. I don't know.
None of these suppositions is fact, and I may easily be fooled by fictional popular culture.