I'm not so sure I buy the premise quite yet. Japan had a very militarized culture that was never truly subdued during and after the Meiji Restoration. Even though the samurai class had effectively been broken militarily at the end of the Satsuma Rebellion in 1877, the sons and grandsons of the samurai remained a potent political force, and were the backbone of Japan's post-WWI militarization. I don't think China has a similar military class that is romanticized to entice future generations. Japan was also an imperial power before WWI and had significant outlying interests. The ChiComs have none. They lay claim to outlying islands, but a Chinese attempt to leave the mainland would be met by significant regional forces at minimum. The Japanese did not face technologically equal or superior Asian militaries in or during WWII. I am also not convinced there's more go than show to the numbers in China's armed forces.