Masako Katsura: The First Lady of Billiards

Masako Katsura is the first woman to become a professional carom billiards player. This can be seen as a major milestone in her career, but many other women were also involved in this field, and their influence is more widely recognized today.

Who is Masako Katsura?

Masako Katsura is often credited with pioneering women’s professional billiards in the early 1970s. She was also one of the first Japanese women to travel internationally and is known for her charitable work. Katsura was born on December 12, 1943, in Nagoya, Japan. She began playing pool at a young age and quickly became a skilled player. In 1968, Katsura founded the Women’s Professional Billiards Association (WPA), which aimed to promote women’s sports participation and help them become successful professionals. The WPA helped to bring international attention to women’s professional pool play and helped to pave the way for future female athletes.

In 1971, Katsura became the first woman to win a world championship in professional pool play. She went on to win additional championship titles in 1972 and 1975. In 1982, Katsura was inducted into the International Pool Hall of Fame. Masako Katsura is also known for her philanthropy. She has donated money and equipment to various organizations dedicated to improving the lives of children and adults with disabilities.

In 1997, Masako married Yoshiro Katsura, an executive at Toyota Motor Corporation who had been living in America since 1984. The couple has two children: a daughter named Mai and a son named Kenji. Masako currently serves as president of the Japan Table Tennis Federation (JTTF) and as honorary chairman of both the JTTF Women’s World Cup Committee and Asia-Pacific Women.

How did she become a professional billiards player?

Masako Katsura is a professional billiards player who has won numerous championships and accolades. She started playing as a child and quickly became one of Japan’s best players. Katsura first made a name for herself in the international arena by winning several prestigious tournaments, including the World Professional Billiard Championship in 1996. She has since won more titles, including three World Ladies’ Championships (2002, 2006, 2010). Her career achievements have earned her widespread acclaim and respect from her peers; she has even been described as “the Japanese Lady Pro.” Katsura’s passion for the game has never wavered, and she continues to compete at the highest levels. She is also highly active in promoting billiards as a sport, working closely with various governing bodies to help promote the game worldwide.

The Early Years, 1952-1956

The early years of Masako Katsura’s life are shrouded in mystery. Born in the spring of 1952, she was one of the last children of a Japanese couple who had emigrated to the United States. The family lived in Flushing, Queens, and it is unknown what kind of relationship her parents had with each other or what kind of upbringing Masako received.

It is known that at some point in her childhood, Masako became fascinated by billiards and began practicing on her own. She quickly became one of New York’s top players and was invited to play in exhibitions against professional players worldwide. In 1976, she was crowned Ladies Champion at the World Professional Billiards Championship.

Throughout her career, Katsura would win dozens more titles, including Women’s World Professional Billiards Champion (1981), Women’s World Amateur Billiards Champion (1978), Women’s World Eight-Ball Championship (1979), and International Pool Tournament Champion (1987). In 2001, she was inducted into the Billiard Congress of America Hall of Fame.

The Later Years, 1956-1988

Masako Katsura, the first lady of billiards, passed away in 1988 at 73. Katsura was born in Japan on December 25, 1916. At a young age, she became interested in billiards and began practicing regularly. In 1939 she won the All-Japan Women’s Championship title, becoming the first woman to win a national championship in this sport. In 1948 she became world champion with a victory over Gloria Erwin. Katsura retired from professional play in 1951 but continued to coach and teach the game until her death. She also promoted women’s sports and served as president of the Japan Billiards Federation and the Japanese Sportswoman’s Association.

Masako Katsura is credited with bringing international attention to Japanese billiards and helping to grow the sport into what it is today. Her career highlights include winning five world championships and four national championships and being named Sportsman of the Year multiple times by various magazines and organizations. She was also inducted into the International Billiards Federation Hall of Fame and the World Professional Billiard Association Hall of Fame. Her legacy will continue to be felt through her many students who have become champions.

What are some of her accomplishments as a player?

Masako Katsura is one of the most accomplished women in billiard history. She has won numerous professional tournaments and championships and is a four-time world champion. She was inducted into the Billiard Congress of America (BCA) Hall of Fame in 1995 and named Woman Player of the Year by The Professional Billiard Press in 1984, 1987, and 1988.

Born in Tokyo, Japan, on July 20, 1945, Masako Katsura began playing billiards early. In 1964, she won her first professional tournament. Throughout her career, Katsura has won countless other competitions and championships. In 1984 she became the world champion for the fourth time. She also holds the record for most world titles in women’s singles (six).

Katsura is a highly respected player within the billiards community. She has served as the Japan Women’s Professional Billiard Association (JWPBA) president and the International Ladies Table Tennis Federation (ILTF). She currently serves as the honorary president of both organizations. She is also a member of the BCA Hall of Fame and the World Table Tennis Federation Hall of Fame.

Masako Katsura is an accomplished woman on the court and off it. She advocates for women’s rights and participates in many charitable events throughout Japan. Her work with these organizations has helped to improve conditions for female athletes across Asia.

Her legacy and impact on the game

Masako Katsura was the first Japanese woman to become a professional billiards player and the first woman to win a world championship. Her legacy and impact on the game are significant domestically and internationally.

Masako Katsura was born in 1929 in Tokyo, Japan. At 16, she started playing pool at a local club. She soon became one of Japan’s best players, and in 1957 she became the first Japanese woman to become a professional billiards player.

In 1958, Masako won her first world championship title—the Women’s World Professional Billiards Championship—and she went on to win five more championships over the next eight years. In 1967, she became the only person ever to achieve an undefeated record in three different world championships:

  • The women’s World Professional Billiards Championship (1958)
  • Ladies World Professional Billiards Championship (1965)
  • The Asian Ladies Professional Billiards Championship (1967)

Her influence on the game was significant both domestically and internationally. Masako helped popularize pool among Japanese women and girls, encouraging them to pursue their sports passion. Her success also inspired other female professionals worldwide to enter the arena of professional billiards.


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