Feb. 21, 2013
Richard & Rosemary Hatch performing "Taro-san" with the Tamasudare mat.
-- Richard Hatch, magician and author of the recently published illustrated bilingual children's book Taro-san the Fisherman and the Weeping Willow Tree
will be at Hastings in Logan (50 E 400 N) from 4 p.m. till 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, February 23, 2013 to sign copies of his book. The book tells the story of Taro-san, a young fisherman in old Japan, who aspires to greatness in his profession, but fails until an old fisherman shares with him a critical secret of the craft. The story was inspired by a tale created by Hatch to accompany his performances of a classic Japanese feat known as "Nankin Tamasudare" in which 56 bamboo sticks, knotted into a mat joined by 108 pieces of string, are manipulated transformer-
style to form various figures. In the Japanese tradition, the feat is performed at festivals by costumed performers who do a song and dance as they make figures with the tamasudare mat. "I don't have the costume, can't sing the song and don't know the dance," confessed Hatch. "So I wrote a story to make sense of the figures I wanted to make with the mat." Hatch's wife, violinist Rosemary Kimura Hatch found a violin transcription of "Haru no Umi" (The Sea of Spring) by Michio Miyagi to accompany the performance, which influenced further changes in the story. "Over time, the story matured and took on a life of its own," says Hatch. He began looking for an artist who could create illustrations inspired by the great Japanese artist Hokusai to tell the story. He eventually found Andras Balogh, an illustrator in Hungary, who was equal to the task. Hatch then had his friend, Yukishige Kadoya, a writer and magician in Nagoya, Japan, translate the story into Japanese for this bilingual publication which has the English text on the left hand page, and the Japanese text on the right.
Hatch will have one of his tamasudare mats with him at the Hastings book signing for those interested in examining it up close. Free "Taro-san" bookmarks will be available to all who stop by during the book signing period. For more information, call Stefnie at Hastings (435) 753-0709.