may shigenobu was born in lebanon to the founder of the japanese red army, fusako shigenobu. fearing kidnapping, assassination and arrest, along with her mother she lived without a real identity and nationality for 28 years. she lived under several alias identities until her mother’s arrest in 2000, and gained the japanese nationality in 2001.
she graduated from the american university of beirut in political science and public administration, where she also became a graduate student in international relations, and in journalism at the lebanese university. after her mother’s arrest, she relocated to japan in 2001. she pursued a doctorate degree in japan, and graduated in 2011 from doshisha university in kyoto in media studies and the effect of arabic satellite broadcasting on middle eastern societies.
she now works as a freelance producer and reporter for japanese and middle eastern televisions, and regularly gives lectures and comments on such topics as palestinian rights, the arab world and its cultures, and middle eastern politics. in 2005 she became an anchor for the apf news online program "the olive journal," and in 2006 has worked as an co-anchor for the cable news channel asahi newstar's daily, live political program "nyuusu no shinsou" ("in-depth news") until april 2010.
she is the author of three books: secrets - from palestine to the country of cherry trees, 28 years with my mother (2002), from the ghettos of the middle east (2003), and the arab spring; media war and western interest (2012). she is featured in documentary films such as, japan pack suicide (directed by nobuaki oura, 2006) documentary zunou keisatu (2010), children of the revolution (directed by shane o’sullivan, 2010), and the anabasis of may and fusako shigenobu, masao adachi and 27 years without images (directed by eric baudelaire, 2011). she also appears in the fictional japanese movie on figure skating coach as a sports journalist (2010). in 2012 she has produced and appears in al jazeera’s documentary stars of orion; martyrs from japan.