Japan started the Russo Japanese war as a definite underdog. Expected by all western nations and attached observers to be soundly whooped by the numerically superior Imperial Russian forces amply backed up by an economy that could replace the losses of an aggressive war, Japan by comparison had almost bankrupted itself in order to provide its navy with 6 Battleships and 6 Armoured Cruisers. Rear Admiral Togo Heihachiro knew that the way he fought the war had to be in such a way as to conserve his naval assets.
Japans European ally, Great Britain routinely called Japan in the press of the day Gallant Little Japan!
Japan had such a paucity of resources that they were still forced to use the armoured cruisers that had fought (and won) the Sino-Japanese naval war of 1895, albeit in the Fifth reserve naval division.
What the Japanese under the Emperor Meiji lacked in resources they more than made up for in professionalism, aggressive modus operandi and the state of repair that the naval vessels were kept in.
In the final analysis it was these elements that dealt such a crushing blow to the European superpower; Imperial Russia!