At the time of Pearl Harbor, both Japan and the USA were relatively dismissive of each other’s military and potential threat. Having dominated the Pacific Sphere in combat against a Chinese military struggling with recent political upheaval, the Japanese over-estimated their military technology’s superiority. Battle plans for Pearl Harbor didn’t even include assaults of industrial and support targets like the dry-docks, which would have crippled the American Navy. They didn’t think the conflict would last long enough for them to come into play.
However, the attack on Pearl Harbor galvanized American support for the war. In fact, the submarine at the Nimitz museum was toured around the country in an effort to sell war bonds. The small size of the submarine, coupled with the fact that it’s crew were willing to give their lives in an attack contributed to ideas that the Japanese were fanatic and ruthlessly deceptive.