Masako Katsura is a billiards game player. The game was meant only for men to achieve excellence in that. Moreover, she added her contribution internationally to the billiards stage. She made her name prominent in Japan in a game traditionally belonging to males when she started her journey in Japan and became the “First Lady of billiards.” She was born in Tokyo in a local household. Katsura started playing billiards at the age of 14. In her childhood, her father passed away, and after that, her mother encouraged her to participate in billiards. Her mother insisted she participates in billiards to become mentally and physically strong. In the 1920s, Billiards was a game of Japanese. Her brother-in-law owned a billiard hall. She got a job there and practiced daily here.
The Game Starts!
At 15 years of age, Masako Katsura won her first match. Consequently, she caught the eye of Kinney Matsuyama, the reigning champion of Japan. Matsuyama began training the juvenile Katsura, commonly recognized as the Japanese Willie Hoppe. He was also the one who introduced her to multiple pools. Using her talent for novelty tricks and newly acquired accuracy in multiple snooker games, Katsura introduced elegance to the game. It began laying the foundation for a future exceeding her wildest imaginations…
The Second World War hurt Katsura’s ascent to fame. She made the most of her profession in every way possible, starting with each show for Japanese soldiers. After the war, she passionately started entertainment for American soldiers with her mind-blowing billiards feats. Her professional career began as a result. When word of her brilliance and elegance swiftly spread, she was asked to visit the United States by a champion named Welker Cochran. Katsura relocated to America in 1951. She felt shocked to see how few ladies were at the event. In billiards rooms all around Japan, women both performed and played. In the USA, the situation was different.
The First Lady of Billiards
Masako Katsura started a job under Welker Cochran as her working manager. He advocated for her in media, saying things like Welker Cochran became Katsura’s supervisor when she first decided to work. Although the media paid more attention to her gender than to her ability, he argued in support of her in public. One publication also referred to this fantastic winner as “a real Japanese cue-tee.” Thankfully, several pool professionals treated Katsura with the courtesy she due.
She advanced in the levels as she started to play an increasing number of heroes. Both the media and her opponents watched her in wonder. By opening the door for women to participate in the sport, she rose to prominence as the sport’s ambassador.
Despite being a woman, Katsura consistently placed well and won awards in all her international competitions until the 1950s. She was the first woman to participate in a billiard tournament internationally, making her literally “the First Lady of billiards” and a staple of billiard history.
A Legacy That Lives on
Masako Katsura gave women rise to a new sector. She not only made the activity more appealing to women, but she also had the “strength of a male.” At a pool hall in San Francisco, Katsura had her final season in 1976. She took her cue, ran up a single test run, and afterward essentially vanished. When the Women’s Professional Billiard Association was established in the 1970s, Katsura was elected into its Hall of Fame. Masako Katsura relocated to Japan and died dead in 1995. She has had a remarkable impact on society and the game of pool.
Married life of Masako Katsura:
Masako Katsura married an officer in the Army in 1950 and moved to the US the following year after marriage. She was allowed to compete in the 1952 World Three-Cushion Championship, which the United States supported, and finally finished in 7th place. Katsura was the first woman to compete in a global billiards championship. As her renown solidified, Katsura embarked on an exhibition tour of the United States with Welker Cochran, an eight-time world champion, and subsequently with Willie Hoppe, a 51-time world champion. She again competed for the world three-cushion title in 1953 and 1954, placing fifth and fourth, respectively.
Late life and death of Masako Katsura
For several years, only a little has been seen of Masako Katsura. She had 30 demonstration performances in 1958 and joined Harold Worst for a one-week contract the following year, but she didn’t participate in any professional tournaments. She created three television interviews in 1959: two on ABC’s You Asked for It and one on CBS’s smash hit just what My Line is? In 1961, Katsura made a comeback and faced off against Worst, the current world champion, in a challenging match for the World Three-Cushion title. The worst won and Katsura was eliminated from the competition. After that, Katsura stopped competing in the sport, only making a brief cameo in 1976. After returning to Japan in the late 1980s, she passed away in 1995.
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