First earning a bachelor’s degree from Musashi University in Tokyo in 1980, Sheba Michiyo Shibahara is an accomplished journalist, philanthropist and consultant. She began her career as a reporter for a government newspaper and also worked in copywriting and advertising before coming to the United States from Japan in 1988. In 1990, she achieved the position of director of the Japanese Cultural Exchange, a New York-based nonprofit organization, and became one of the first people to talk about Japanese culture on television. She has also been very active with the United Nations Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations and notably created the Japan Day Festival in honor of the 30th anniversary of the New York City-Tokyo sister city partnership and helped to organize the Cherry Blossom Festival at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden from 1990 to 2000.
Furthermore, Ms. Shibahara became the New York director of the nongovernmental organization Martial Arts Academy in 2018 and created their first international conference under the United Nations Kyoto Congress, which is a crime prevention and criminal justice congress that is held every five years. She cites the success of the international conference as the absolute highlight of her career. With considerable experience consulting and liaising with various groups and organizations across the United States and Japan, Ms. Shibahara is also the founder and director of Empire Resorts International, Inc., a company that offers international business development strategies.
Outside of her primary career responsibilities, Ms. Shibahara has donated her time to the National Police Defense Foundation and the Civil Aid Service, the latter of which recognized her for her excellence by naming her an honorary secretary. She has also received awards and recognitions from Japanese United Nations officials and the mayors of various cities in the United States and Japan, among other accolades, one of which was a “thank you” letter received from former first lady, Laura Bush. Above these honors, she considers the most gratifying aspect of her career to be the opportunities she has had to learn from others who come from very different backgrounds. Looking toward the future, Ms. Shibahara hopes to continue to work for her community and cement her legacy as an accomplished philanthropist.