Meet The First Lady Of Billiards: Masako Katsura

As a young girl growing up in post-war Japan, Masako Katsura never imagined she’d become one of the most influential figures in the world of billiards. But today, she is widely respected as the “First Lady of Billiards”, and her accomplishments inspire aspiring sportspeople. Read on to find out more about Masako Katsura’s incredible story!

Masako Katsura early life

 Katsura was born in Nagoya, Japan, on March 7, 1913. She began playing pool at the age of 14. In 1923, she entered her first professional tournament, the Japan Open, and finished in ninth place. She turned pro the following year.
During her career, Katsura has won more than 30 international titles, including the World Pool Championship (1965), the World Nine-ball Championship (1989), and the Asian Nine-ball Championship (1967). She inducted into the Billiard Congress of America’s Hall of Fame in 2006.
Masako Katsura was born in Tokyo, Japan, on March 16, 1968. She began playing pool at age eight, and by age thirteen, she was the Japanese National Champion. She later moved to the United States to attend college and turned professional in 1988.
Katsura has won numerous titles throughout her career, including the Women’s World Pool Championship (1956), the World eight-ball Championship (1999), and the US Open 9-Ball Championship (1975). She is currently ranked as one of the top female players in the world.

The 1950s

While the United States enjoyed a postwar boom in the 1950s, billiards also gained popularity. Masako Katsura, often referred to as the First Lady of Billiards, was a driving force behind this.
Born in Osaka, Japan, in 1927, Katsura began playing pool at 14. She quickly became a top player, winning her first national championship at 19. In 1949, she moved to the United States to further her career.
Katsura quickly made a name for herself on the American billiards scene. She won her first major tournament, the Women’s World Invitational Pool Championship, in 1950. She would go on to win it an impressive five more times over the next decade. 
Katsura’s accomplishments went beyond simply winning tournaments. She was also instrumental in promoting billiards as a sport for women and helping to break down gender barriers. In 1955, she became the first woman ever to featured on the cover of Billiard Digest magazine. And in 1956, she made history again by becoming the first woman inducted into the Billiard Congress of America Hall of Fame.
Katsura retired from competitive play in 1967 but remained active in the sport, serving as vice president of the Women’s Professional Billiard Association and Japan Women’s Pool Association.

Later Life And Death of Masako Katsura

Katsura began to feel the effects of her years of smoking in her late 60s. She was diagnosed with COPD and eventually required oxygen to help her breathe. Despite her health problems, Katsura continued to play billiards and entered tournaments until she was no longer able. She died on December 20, 1995, at the age of 79.
Masako Katsura was born in Osaka, Japan, in 1921. She was the daughter of a well-to-do family and was raised with all the advantages that came with that. She attended an elite girls’ school and then went on to study at a women’s college. While she was in college, she first became interested in billiards.
She started playing in local tournaments and quickly made a name for herself. In 1941, she won the Japanese National Championship, becoming the first woman to do so. She followed that up with wins in the 1942 and 1943 World Championships.
During World War II, the competitive play halted, and Masako found herself working in her father’s business. After the war ended, she returned to the game with a vengeance. In 1948, she won the All-Japan Championship and defended her title the following year.
In 1950, she finally realized her dream of becoming world champion again, defeating Ruth McGinnis in the final. She would retain her title for the next two years before losing it to Willie Mosconi in 1953.
Masako continued to compete until 1967, when she retired from professional play. However, she remained active in the sport through her work as an instructor and commentator. She also served as president of the Women’s Billiard Association from 1968 to 1970.
Masako passed away on December 20, 1995, at 84.


The accomplishments of Masako Katsura are nothing short of remarkable. As the first lady and true pioneer in billiards, she has forever changed how the game played and taught people that anything is achievable with hard work and dedication. Her legacy will live on for generations and inspire future players who hope to follow in her footsteps. We owe it to her to always strive for excellence, as she did throughout her life – both on and off the table.
Masako Katsura was a trailblazer and role model for countless young players, showing that anything is possible. She touched many with her enthusiasm and kindness, winning numerous tournaments throughout her career. Her leadership in the sport will not soon forgotten, as she always said, “Never give up your dream.” Although Katsura has passed on, her memory will live forever. For those interested in billiards or just looking for inspiration, it is highly recommended to look into her influence and understand how a life dedicated to excellence can benefit all aspects of life. Masako Katsura will always remain one of the greatest players and an inspirational game leader.

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