I also don’t think general perception of Japan was that bad despite the First Sino-Japanese war. A lot of people including C.K.S went to school in Japan and it was where a lot of revolutionaries came from. Russia meanwhile had almost no soft influence and their soldiers were notorious for ill discipline especially compared to Japan of the period.Yesterday I actually stumbled across a paper on it by Gotelind Muller titles Chinese perspective of the Russo-Japanese War. Fascinating reading. He listed several factors of which shared heritage was one.