Relations between China and Japan have been deteriorating of late. Although they are bound together economically, politically and militarily they seem to be moving away from one another. Tokyo's announcement earlier this year that Taiwan was a strategic concern, brought Japan closer to the US, causing some consternation among Chinese military strategists. The outburst of anti-Japanese protests in China this year suggests a deep-seated popular anger toward Japan. And the more recent standoff over islands and oil in the East China Sea creates a possibility for direct conflict.
I, therefore, asked the I Ching: what are the prospects for Sino-Japanese relations? And the answer that came back was fairly positive. The oracle says that peace will endure.
The I Ching returned Hexagram 32, "Duration," with no moving lines.
I take this as a good sign. Duration (Lynn translates it as "Perseverance") emphasizes a certain dynamic complementarity. Things do not stay the same, but as things change the remain in organic unity:
It is not a state of rest, for mere standstill is regression. Duration is rather the self-contained and therefore self-renewing movement of an organized, firmly integrated whole, taking place in accordance with immutable laws and beginning anew at every ending.
What can this mean for Sino-Japanese relations? The I Ching is reminding us that the two countries are closely tied together. This is true historically as well as economically. There have been times when the relationship has taken very violent turns and descended into war. But each ending brings a new beginning; so the relationship has always revived and grown.
When we look at the current deterioration in China-Japan relations the oracle is telling us to keep in mind the enduring and harmonizing aspects of the synthesis of the two. If national leaders on both sides remember this as well, they will see the wisdom of preserving the close connections and not allow temporary differences to break them asunder. War would be a fundamental rupture; so, I believe the I Ching is suggesting here that, generally, war will not occur, especially if national leaders keep in mind the mutual benefit both sides gain from good relations.
There is a hint of marriage in this hexagram. Extending that metaphor, China and Japan are pictured here as a married couple. And as the Lynn translation states: "The Dao of husband and wife cannot fail to be long enduring." Whatever sorts of short term spats may occur, perhaps, over the long term, it will be a happy marriage.