If you mention the name Furuta Oribe, most Japanese will probably give you a blank stare.

But this 16th-century samurai warrior and tea master is well known to residents of Gifu Prefecture.

The Gifu Prefectural Government is now hoping to raise his profile in New York by holding two six-day exhibitions showcasing his philosophy and his influence on modern-day Japanese culture.

An exhibition titled “The Turning Point: Oribe and the Arts of 16th-Century Japan” will be held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York from Oct. 28 through Nov. 2.

The display will feature some 180 tea ceremony bowls and utensils characteristic of the Azuchi-Momoyama Period (1576-1600), along with paintings and crafts created in Oribe style.

The exhibits include 70 items borrowed from American and Canadian collections.

As part of what Gifu officials describe as the Oribe 2003 in New York project, a special tea ceremony will be held at the museum on the opening day of the exhibition.

Some 400 guests have been invited to attend the event, including New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, New York Gov. George Pataki and Shoichiro Toyoda, honorary chairman of Toyota Motor Corp.

Meanwhile, another Oribe-linked exhibition, titled “Lifestyle, Crafts and Sights of Gifu, Japan,” will be held simultaneously at Vanderbilt Hall in Grand Central Terminal.

Aside from Gifu products, including crafts, furniture and paper goods, tourist information on the prefecture will be offered to New Yorkers.

The officials said the prefecture will use these events to promote the 2005 Aichi World Exposition, hoping that visitors to the exposition will also come to neighboring Gifu.

Briefing the media recently about the New York project, Gifu Gov. Taku Kajiwara said his government has been promoting Oribe’s philosophy since 1996, seeking to revive old traditions and foster the growth of new industry and culture.

According to Kajiwara, Oribe, a native of today’s Gifu Prefecture, lived through the turbulent civil wars of the 16th century.

He served the three prominent conquerors of the period — Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Ieyasu Tokugawa, who unified the country by pacifying local warlords.

Oribe is remembered today not as a samurai but as a tea master. He was one of the seven disciples of Rikyu, the founder of the tea ceremony. Yet he was not a man to adhere to any convention.

“For instance, perfectly round and symmetrical bowls for tea ceremony were highly valued. But Oribe found new new value in bowls that were not perfectly round, even in those with cracks,” Kajiwara said.

Describing the spirit of Oribe as freedom, innovation and creativity, the governor said the respect for differences among individuals, embodied in Oribe’s philosophy, is what today’s world lacks.

“His philosophy will be a solution to the troubled contemporary world, which is full of conflicts ascribed to differences of races and religions, as described by U.S. scholar Samuel Huntington’s best-selling book “The Clash of Civilizations,” ‘ he said.

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