The katana is unusable by the player and only seen being wielded by some Japanese soldiers during certain parts of the campaign mode. In the first mission, "Semper Fi", a Japanese soldier playing dead might stab Rooker (depending on the player's actions) with a katana. Another slashes Miller across the shoulder with a katana as he tries to escape with the other Marines. Also, in the last part of "Little Resistance", Sgt. Tom Sullivan gets killed by a Japanese Banzai Charger wielding a katana. Katanas are usually replaced with the Bayonet by the Japanese soldiers, however they can be seen on some of the soldiers' uniforms even if they are not used.
Examination of the game files reveals the menu and pickup icons for the katana, hinting it was originally going to appear as a usable weapon at some stage of development, at least until it got scrapped.
The Path of Sorrows can be obtained within the zombies map Revelations.
In order to obtain the weapon, the player must have progressed through the easter egg until they reach the point where the player can teleport to Samantha's room. Inside the spawn room is a glowing wisp on the headlight of a truck. Grab the wisp and bring it to the teleporter in Kino der Toten and teleport to The House. Inside the room is a custom Mystery Box with a candle on top of it. Place the wisp on the chest and it will sink into it. Grab the Kronorium on the bed and head over to the temple in Shangri-La, where the Path of Sorrows can be found on the wall for 500 points. It is pretty reliable as it can kill zombies with ease in the later rounds and it is a one hit kill until round 42.
10000 points Free (if Pest Control has been completed in the same match)
"Slice and dice opponents at an extended range. Press R2 or L2 to attack."
— Multiplayer description
The Katana, referred to as the Kirisute Gomen, can be acquired from the Zombies map Shaolin Shuffle. It can be obtained from the wall of the Black Cat Dojo for free once the player completes the map's main easter egg. In subsequent playthroughs, without completing the easter egg, players can buy the Kirisute Gomen for 10,000 points. It is a very viable weapon, capable of taking out multiple enemies in one swing.
When Pack-a-Punched, it becomes the Sprites of Hell. While in this form, it can send a powerful shockwave after every third swing with the blade. When Pack-a-Punched again if the Alien Fuses have been installed, it becomes the Feral Instinct. Like the Sprites of Hell, it can send out a special ability after each third swing, in this case being a purple ghostly black tiger which can be sent in a single direction dealing infinite damage. The Feral Instinct has 20 ammunition special ability swings, consuming 1 ammo after every ability of the purple ghostly tiger.
On September 26th, 2017, the Katana was added to multiplayer (under its actual name), along with the Nunchucks and the Venom-X.