BabelHuber wrote:My best guess is that Japan tried to repeat the 1905 success against Russia. In 1905, Russia was also economically superiour, but after losing at Tsushima stopped fighting. So Japan probably thought that the USA would react similarily after Pearl Harbor.
This is an insane strategy, but at least would have some basis in reality. Everything else I can think of is just plain madness on Japan's part.
Trying to set up a Tsushima was the whole idea(they kept flying the battle flag from the battle as a luck charm). It lead to the entire idea for the Japanese of the decisive battle that they caught for all during the entire war. They hoped to make it Midway, when that didn't work they tried to do it at Guadalcanal, Marinas then Leyte. It was only after the Battle of Leyte Gulf that the Japanese finally seemed to realize that their holy grail of a back breaking battle just wasn't going to happen so they moved their efforts into the suicide weapons hoping to sink enough stuff to scare the American into calling it quits. All they did was make the Americans deploy their ships even more defensively making their Kamikaze attacks start to show their own diminishing returns.
RADAR, Proximity Fuses, and ever increasing sophistication in gun director tech was just going to overwhelm the Japanese.