The Chinese vs Japanese Navy Head To Head: An Infographic

Tyler Durden's picture

Tomorrow is the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I. Perhaps just as importantly, this weekend is also the 120th anniversary of the first Sino-Japanese war: a war between China's Qing dynasty and Meiji Japan. A war which China lost, and which has been a chip on China's shoulder ever since.

As Hong Kong's SCMP reports "China's loss of the first Sino-Japanese war has been attributed to a disorganised navy. Although the northern fleet equalled, some say exceeded, the Meiji navy in terms of firepower, it was annihilated because it lacked coordination among its military units."

In the context of constant recent flare ups over various contested East China Sea islands, one can see why the anniversary of the war coupled with a sudden spike in nationalistic ambitions of Japan's PM Abe, would be a sensitive issue to China. However, as we can see below, China no longer has an inferiority complex when it comes to its navy compared to that of Japan.

While Japan's navy may still have a qualitative advantage over China's, the People's Liberation Army is catching up, analysts say. In sheer manpower, China has the upper hand, with Beijing putting the PLA Navy's strength at 235,000, or more than five times the number in the Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force.

According to SCMP:

"PLA units are still exploring new ways to operate jointly, which could lead to merging their different weapon systems together," Wong said. Toshi Yoshihara, an associate professor at the US Naval War College, said that although the Japanese navy was still superior in technological sophistication and experience, China was catching up quickly.


"China is out-building Japan virtually across the board," Yoshihara said. He said the PLA Navy was deploying modern destroyers, frigates, fast-attack craft and submarines. "Japan is already having trouble keeping pace with this level of Chinese output."

Sounds kinda, sorta like the US, Russia nuclear arms race. However, unlike the use of nuclear ICBMs, launching a naval war has far less dire consequences if it goes wrong, and thus a lower hurdle to enactment. One which both China and Japan seem eager to jump over based on their behavior in recent months. The key variable remains US involvement.

As so many Chinese warships had entered production, adding mass and balance on the fleet, Japan could no longer rely on its qualitative advantage, Yoshihara said. But a deciding factor would be the support of the US Navy. "The US-Japanese alliance is essential to weighing the overall naval balance," he said.


China might even have the edge now, according to Dr Lyle Goldstein, an associate professor at the China Maritime Studies Institute under the US Naval War College.


"In my opinion, the forces are quite evenly matched now, but China may even have pulled ahead in recent years," Goldstein said. He added that this was not the official assessment of the US Navy.

Which is the worst possible situation as neither side has a massive advantage and thus serves a powerful deterrent.

So where are the two navies currently:

Japan last year formally unveiled the biggest warship in its fleet since the second world war - the Izumo-class helicopter destroyer.


The 248-metre ship, due to enter service next year, is designed to carry 14 helicopters, and complements Japan's two serving Hyuga-class helicopter destroyers, which are 197 metres long and can accommodate 11 helicopters.


Shanghai-based military expert Ni Lexiong said the helicopter destroyers could function as aircraft carriers for US planes, while China had only one aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, although observers say more are in the works.


China required nearly 10 years to convert the 67,500-ton Soviet-built Varyag into the Liaoning. It was formally delivered to the PLA in September 2012, and so far has been used for training.


"But Japan's helicopter carriers have been battle-ready for more than three decades with the help of the United States," Ni said. "Every one of its carriers is able to operate independently in combat."


Japan also enjoys an advantage in submarines, according to Wong. The PLA's existing submarines, many of which are old models, have been criticised by Western forces as "too noisy and too easily detected", while Japan has some of the most technologically advanced diesel-electric submarines in the world

And visually, just in case one of these days the infamous Gulf of Tonkin incident takes place again, only this time it happens to involve a Chinese and Japanese warship.


So what happens next? For the answer we go to SCMP again:

On Friday, the North Sea Fleet held a commemoration off Weihai in Shandong , where the Beiyang Fleet was based. The Beiyang was the pride of the Chinese navy at the time, but suffered heavy losses against Japanese forces.


When the war ended on April 17, 1895, little of the fleet remained and Taiwan was ceded to Japan.  


Xinhua quoted a naval political commissar as saying the ceremony should stir soldiers' patriotism by reminding them of past humiliations. Chinese media have also pointed to remarks President Xi Jinping previously made about the anniversary. Xi said in February China should remember the painful lesson of losing Taiwan to Japan, and then in June noted the special meaning the anniversary carried in the traditional Chinese calendar.


Under its 60-year cycle, 1894 was a jiawu (wood horse) year, as is 2014. The occurrence has led some hawks to argue that the humiliation of a weak China then should be avenged by a strong China now.


Beijing has increasingly been referring to a string of historical events to highlight old grievances. The central government held an unusually high-profile commemoration on July 7 marking the 77th anniversary of the start of China's second war with Japan.


Giving prominence to such anniversaries is part of a broader domestic agenda, analysts say.


"An important aspect and end goal of achieving the Chinese dream is to rid China of past humiliations inflicted by foreign powers, and Japan perhaps did more than its share," said Yuan Jingdong, a professor at the University of Sydney Centre for International Security Studies.

That sounds like warmongering, and incidentally, a war may just be the thing Princeton's Keynesianomics (not to be confused with Clownianomics) department ordered to send the Nikkei225 to fresh cycle highs now that it appears to have stalled and is still down YTD. Because how else will the wealth effect trickle down to the 0.01%, which is really all the New Normal has been about.

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nidaar's picture

Slightly OOT but another ISIS seems to be planted and being born in MENA:

smlbizman's picture

mission accomplished..

CrazyCooter's picture

I don't really do Japs (special exception for the peppers - yum!) or Anime ... but, couldn't resist ...


... and ...




Supernova Born's picture

Pilotless ASM carrying drones/kamikaze drones will fill the skies like locusts in the next war.

Bingo Hammer's picture

Christine Lagarde strikes again...'an unusually high-profile commemoration on July 7 marking the 77th anniversary"???

Drunk In Church's picture

My money is on the Japanese.  All of Asia still fears them.  Bitchez.

Colonel Klink's picture

Created another profile to hock your shitty blog huh?

optimator's picture

And they will be returned to their roots as target drones.

old naughty's picture


Why all these hardware?

we have war of the nerves, info war to achieve behavioral control, MV to re-direct typhoon and EQ, etc.

Not to mention stargate beaming creatures and hardwares into space !?

So, why all these hardware?


Antifaschistische's picture

Is this anything like comparing a Lexus to Chery (Chinese Car Mfr)?

I have no expertise in military hardware comparisons but just using numbers as a comparison seems to underestimate the Japanese tendency to develop better products than just about anyone else in the world.  And I mean no offense to the Germans or the Swiss.

IronForge's picture

Fuck Off with the Racial Slur, Asshole.

SmackDaddy's picture

you best prepare to have your good sensibilities challenged here.  especially since you have formerly worked as a tool of our federal government and then made a career of ripping people off as a "financial advisor".  you'll have a lot of deprogramming to go through

IronForge's picture

Sorry, Smackdaddy:

I never ripped off my Clients - I've managed Finances in the Navy.  Those who listened to my advise - good Fund Families, stocks confirmed by several research sources - did well.  You need to read the "Investment Fund Mgmt" portion there.

No Deporgramming.  Perhaps you should pull you head out of your arse and leave the commentating to people who have something substantive to relate towards the discussion thread.

barre-de-rire's picture

time to grow up kiddo, reel war is not an anime on tv. u must be 15 years 'murican... you have no spot here, please leave adults alone we discuss serious stuff here

SmackDaddy's picture

haha.  i dont think you guys get how the comments section works here..

wee-weed up's picture


"Jap-An? Where's dat? If dey ain't Muslims... I ain't gonna hep 'em!"

Grimnir's picture

This sort of silly strawmanning really doesn't help things and just shows the ignorance of people who actually think Obama is in charge.

Kirk2NCC1701's picture

The real tell will be if/when ISIS tips their hand on the nature of their CB, and their currency:

Fiat or gold-backed?  Rottenchild CB usury, or "Muslim ZIRP" (MZIRP)?

Aussie V's picture

"China's loss of the first Sino-Japanese war has been attributed to a disorganised navy."

Have you seen how bad the Chinese are at driving their cars????

No wonder the japs kicked their bums with their navy


BigJim's picture

 The real tell will be if/when ISIS tips their hand on the nature of their CB, and their currency:

Fiat or gold-backed?  Rottenchild CB usury, or "Muslim ZIRP" (MZIRP)?

Ha! Good point. I expect they'll adopt the USD if they know what's 'good' for them.

Tall Tom's picture

Knowing something about the Muslim my bet is that they will go with an Interest Free Monetary System, buck the Westren Banking Powers, have a Gold Backed Currency, and tell their handlers in Langley to go fuck themselves.


That is when we will go to war against ISIS.


Until that happens Langley will continue to covertly provide material and logistic support.

Skateboarder's picture

I guess General Tso is not chicken...

CrazyCooter's picture

With the size of the credit bubble in China, there is a desperate need to direct peasant anger at anyone other than those in charge ... and the Japanese are a well qualified target given their culture/history.

This will go kinetic given enough time. The question to me really is, who all piles into bed with whom ... lots of old history in that neck of the woods ... this will make for strange bedfellows for sure ... but I do not doubt that there will be tijuana donkies with Japenese comfort men before this is over ...



BlindMonkey's picture

"... but I do not doubt that there will be tijuana donkies with Japenese comfort men before this is over ..."

I love the imagery but I have no idea what you are saying.

old naughty's picture

" peasant angers..."

Using "Mao's daughters in abject poverty" as the latest propagander to direct angers, at corrupt officials (?)

right at the heels of dragging into mud quite a few of Central Committee members.

No, the new "General Tso" is definitely smart chicken.


Keep reading ZH, lots on what you don't expect (or want) to see in China !

Fish Gone Bad's picture

I love the imagery but I have no idea what you are saying.

Yes, the imagery is quite entertaining.  China, in trying to raise only males in their one child families, has been doing a pretty good job at creating men who can not find women "to fulfill their needs", so then there is always other men, or perhaps some bestiality.  Its all Greek to me.

Ginsengbull's picture

So they will have a decreasing population for some time.


What happens when their elders retire?


A bigger baby boom bust?

SmackDaddy's picture

I've read that the aborting of baby girls has led to a demographic imbalance of around 30-40 million men of marrying age for whom there is no vagina to stick it in.  that's going to be a restless, frustrated group for sure.  two option, id say- work 'em to death or turn their anger on the rest of the world...

BlindMonkey's picture

Long stumped-trained mules in China I guess.

Peanut Butter Engineer's picture

General Taos is now Popeyes chicken.

Bunghole's picture

Fuck you dolphin

Fuck you whale

Seize Mars's picture

Which navy is eating escolar on a regular basis? Because I would bet against those guys.

Mr. Magoo's picture

"China might even have the edge now, according to Dr Lyle Goldstein, an associate professor at the China Maritime Studies Institute under the US Naval War College"

REALLY?? lets do the math


I dont know but that seems a little more than an edge, Maybe it time to go back to school, DR lyle goldshit

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Of even greater importance China, with its 1.3 billion population, is going to need lots of public distractions when its economy returns to earth. Those toys that go bang will become very useful at that time.

overmedicatedundersexed's picture

lets hope a typhoon aka devine wind aka kamakazi makes it in time. seems to have worked in the past. just think all those ships at the bottom of the sea, means jobs jobs jobs to keep china and japan working.

CrazyCooter's picture

Personally, I am convinced the pacific rim will go kenetic. It is only a matter of time and will be the center of the next global war. I see the other regions (e.g. US and Europe) as ancellary and not central to the "center of mass" as it were.

When that war happens, which I think is a sure horse. Japan will be the flag bearer for ... as I commented above ... being Tijuana Donkey'ed. After that only god knows ...



ebworthen's picture

If China attacks Taiwan or Japan will the U.S. cut off food shipments?

Does China have the capacity or suppliers to provide food for those 1.3 Billion?

Perhaps that is why they are so busy in Africa and other BRIC members (?).

studfinder's picture

Food.  I figure that is why WalMart continues to be stocked with Chinese trinkets.  As long as they are fed, they feed us with plastic junk.  Easier just to use those FRNs while they still have value.

laomei's picture

In terms of basic food needs, China has no problem at all when it comes to food production.  Grain production is a top priority and it's self-sufficient.  There are imports, yes, but under a situation you describe, it would be a national endeavor and that would mean less excess.  There are strategic food reserves, which would last well over a year, even with zero production.  Once you factor back in the food exports from China, it's not really an issue at all.  And as for the US... the US is not the only exporter on the market and China is flush with cash.

SmackDaddy's picture

long soylent green?  better plant some beans to go with that rice.  

Tall Tom's picture

Because they are so busy in Africa I think that Ebola will take care of China's population problems.

Greenskeeper_Carl's picture

not just when its economy returns to earth, but what is that society going to do with those millions of men who there arent enough women for, due to their one child policy? War is a very convienent way to get rid of them too.

barre-de-rire's picture

they go cali to fuck each others in the ass, as usual.

Tall Tom's picture

Disease is the best way of all.

kchrisc's picture

Japan is "doubleplus" screwed.

They are bankrupt and so is their sponsor, the DC US.

Better get out the Chinese for Dummies books.

Four chan's picture

honestly how much more bankrupt can you be when literally every dollar you print is absolutely worthless?

Postal's picture

Intrinsically, perhaps; however, as long as suckers exist who will take my FRNs in exchange for PM, food, ammo, and fuel, it makes sense to keep using it--and to prepare for the day when they truly are worthless.

old_turk's picture

China blah blah.

China isn't going after Japan, they're going after natural resources.

Putin needs to watch his back.

China has taken Russian territory over years. The great Khans and hoards and such. The only difference this time is the Chinese will stay.

Yes, the Chinese will try to push the neighbors around but that's just the warm up.