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Masako Katsura

A Worldwide Sensation Masako Katsura: Why is her Billiards so Popular?

Masako Katsura was a popular sensation worldwide. But the question is for which skills and capabilities she was famous for. Why do people remember her even now? 

Masako katsura billiards player, was also known as the First lady of billiards. She was the first woman in Japan to compete with different billiards players and became the best among the male players. Additionally, she received many awards and honors because of her excellent performance. Because of her outstanding achievements and contributions to sports, many women start participating. 

In short, she became a role model for many other women. To learn more exciting facts about Masako Katsura’s life and career read this article thoroughly.  

Who was Masako Katsura?

Masako Katsura was a well-known billiard player around the world. She participated in various games that men only played. Not only did she play well, but she also defeated many famous billiard players. 

Masako Katsura Japanese woman was born in Tokyo in March 1913. She was also known by “Katsy” as her nickname. Additionally, she was the first woman in sports history to appear on the international billiards stage. The audience sees her as an unprecedented opponent who can easily make her name in the sports of Japan. 

Masako Katsura

First Lady of billiards

Katsura started participating in various international competitions and won the title of “First Lady of billiards.”

Original Name

Masako Katsura

Nick Name




Date of Birth

7 March 1913


20 December 1995


Professional carom billiards player

Early Days of Masako Katsura

Billiards player Masako Katsura had a small family of three sisters and one brother. Her father died when she was 12 years old. So, she spent her childhood at her elder sister’s and her sister’s husband’s place in Tomio Kobashi.

From here, Masako Katsura’s career as a billiard player starts. Her sister’s husband owned a billiard parlor, and he started teaching Katsura. At 13, she spent all her time in her brother-in-law’s billiard room. 

Masako Katsura Career 

Afterward, at the age of 14, the player of billiard masako katsura started working as a billiard attendant there. Kobashi was undoubtedly an outstanding player. She taught Katsura the basics of carom billiards games.

Due to her great interest in this game, the Katsura family also brought her a billiard table at home. Katsura practiced day and night there and started appearing in competitions against Japanese men. Not only did she appear in matches, but she also beat her competitors with her excellent skills.  

When Masako Katsura age was 15, she participated in the women’s championship straight rail held in Japan and won it. 

Famous Quotes of Masako Katsura

One of the famous quotes of Masako Katsura is:


Married Life

In 1947, Katsura met an American serviceman, Vernon Greenleaf. He was a master 

sergeant in the U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps. Additionally, he served there for 22 years.

Both two met in the Tokyo club where Katsura arranged the billiard exhibitions. At the start, Vernon started taking training lessons from Katsura and fell in love. In November 1950, they married and started their new life. 

Moving to the U.S.

After marrying, carom billiards player Masako Katsura moved to the U.S. with her husband. It was the year when Vernon was transferred to the U.S. in 1951.  

Professional Career of Masako Katsura

Let’s take a look at some significant events that took place during Katsura’s career:

World Three-Cushion Billiards Championship

From here, the career of Masako Katsura took off. In 1952 Katsura participated in the World Three-Cushion Billiards championship. Not only did she participate in the tournament, but she also won it. 

During this time, Willie Hoppe was the worldwide champion with over 51 titles. However, after competing with Katsura, he resigned that year. 

No doubt, billiards was one of the most popular sports at that time. But the audience still adored that a woman was amazingly competing in the male sport.

According to the Life magazine of that time, it is reported, “people from San Francisco wouldn’t even know a cue from a cucumber flocked in to see her play as she stole the show!”

Women’s Three-Cushion Billiards Championship 

After the 1952 tournament, pool Masako Katsura didn’t just stop. It again came back in 1953, took part in the first-ever U.S. Women’s Three-Cushion Billiards Championship, and won it. It is definitely a big moment not just for her but also for the other woman.

After seeing the struggle and achievements of Katsura in sports, many women took part in the sports to break the barriers in male-dominated sports. It is one of six U.S. championship titles that Masako Katsura won in her career.

By seeing her continuous progress in her career, it isn’t wrong to say that Katsura was unstoppable. Afterward, her career improved, especially during the 1954 World Three-Cushion Tournament. It mainly took place in Buenos Aires and Argentina. Many famous worldwide players participated during this time, and many came out of retirement.

Masako Katsura

Top-class players 

Names of the top-class players on the scoreboard are:

  • Katsura
  • Harold Worst
  • Ray Miller
  • Juan and Ezequiel Navarra
  • Welker Cochran
  • Kilgore

From this list, we can see that Masako was the only female competitor in the competition. She won this match with excellent skills over Miller (60-47).


On 7 March 2021 Monday, Google doodle honored the greatest billiards player Masako Katsura on its home page as a part of the celebration of International Women’s day.

No doubt, pool halls masako Katsura is still a well-known billiards player in history. She participated in the Billiard Congress of America’s Hall of Fame in 1966 and 2003. She was honored with the U.S. Billiard Media Association’s Player of the Century award. 

Masako Katsura Cause of Death

After competing in various tournaments and achieving continuous success, Katsura returned to Japan in 1990. Here she lives with her sister and spends the rest of her life.

Masako katsura cause of death is natural. She died in 1955. 


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