Amazing Story Of Masako Katsura The first Lady Of Billiards

Did you know about masako katsura? We know some things but not as much as you should. This Japanese lady was a fantastic pool player. She was so good at the pool that she got the name “Queen of Pool.” 

We are here to provide you with all the information that you should know about Legend Katsura. So, read till the conclusion. Let’s begin without any further delay!

Who is Masako?

She was a Legend. She excelled at billiards and won a game that was played only by men. After this, she set the stage for other women to not only participate in the sport but also make a significant contribution to it.

Masako “Katsy” Katsura made history when she became the first woman to compete on the world stage of the pool. She was an unorthodox competitor who swiftly gained fame in Japan in a sport that has always been dominated by men. As the “First Lady of billiards,” she began to rule the rest of the globe by competing in world championships and ultimately winning there, irrespective of her rival.

Early Life stage of Masako Katsura

On March 7th, 1913, she was born in Tokyo, Japan. She had 3 sisters and 1 brother as her siblings. When masako was only twelve years old, her father passed away. She began residing with her sister and her brother-in-law after the passing of her father.

Tomio Kobashi (her brother-in-law), was a pool player and had his room dedicated to the game. At that time, playing pool was very common in Tokyo. At the age of 14, she began working as a billiards attendee upon becoming interested in the game.

The basics of playing pool were originally explained to her by her brother-in-law. Masako’s mother usually pushed her to play pool since she was really weak and often felt tired. To make her stronger and get exercise, her mother pushed her to play pool.

Her family then gave her a pool table as a gift after observing her passion for the game. She began working out at home and soon competing against Japanese males. At just 15 years old, Masako became the female straight rail champion. 

She was the national billiards champion when she met Matsuyama in 1937. Masako’s game impressed Matsuyama, who immediately began teaching her how to play three-cushion billiards at an outstanding level. Masako started playing billiards professionally in Japan in 1947. 

Tokyo was home to Billiard Games

Billiards games were famous in Tokyo. Tomio Kabashi, Masako’s brother-in-law, was the owner of a Tokyo pool hall. She was the first person he taught to play pool. Masako used to practice playing carom billiards at home on the pool table that her family had given her.

Masako started competing and winning matches as she improved herself as a player. She even won the title in the women’s straight rail championship in Japan. The winner of the Eastern billiards was Matsuyama. Masako improved her game and won the pro championship after getting training from Matsuyama.

Masako in the World Championship Tournament 

Masako’s remarkable achievement at the World Championship, which surprised the entire world, had her place seventh overall. Several pool players, including Ray Kilgore, Joe Procita, and Herb Hardt, were surprised by masako katsura. Unfortunately, she lost against other people, including Matsuyama, her old coach, who beat her 50-48.

At the 1954 World Championships, where Katsura appeared, she was the only female contestant. Despite having significant victories over other top athletes, she finished in fourth place overall. She only participated in the shows after the event had ended. She frequently made televised appearances to talk about the sport or participate in exhibition games.

Married life of Masako Katsura Billiards

During the billiards exhibition in 1947, Masako met American serviceman Vernon Greenleaf at the Tokyo service club. Masako taught Greenleaf how to play pool and he formed a keen interest in her. Masako and Vernon Greenleaf were married on November 30, 1950.

In 1951, Vernon Greenleaf was relocated to the US. He and Masako came to the United States for that reason. She first had problems playing at American billiard clubs since they were dominated by men and billiards was seen as a game that only men could enjoy.

To participate in the world championship, Masako received an invitation from Cochran. Cochran’s son was responsible for looking into Katsura’s game, and he got a positive response.

Masako moves to America with her husband

The second World War ruined billiards player masako katsura career. She performed alone for Japanese troops throughout the war. She shifted her focus after the war to doing pool tricks for American soldiers. These efforts set the stage for Katsura’s worldwide career. 

Regarding Masako, one American soldier wrote a letter to his parents, the world champion pool player Welker Cochran. This girl is superior to you, he said in his letter. To encourage Katsura to visit the United States, Cochran offered his help.

She moved to California in 1951. She was shocked to hear that there were very few women participating in the game in the 1950s. All around Japan, women were employed as billiards players. Meanwhile, women in the USA did not experience this. American billiards rooms were exclusively created for and by men, and they were straightforwardly seen as a man’s zone.

Masako becoming an International Billiards Sensation

The year the 1950s saw the quick rise of carom billiards masako katsura, who quickly established herself in the world of pool. Katsura was managed by Welker Cochran, a champion. In an interview with the media, Cochran said, “The game has needed a woman playing with the ability to compete against the best of men players. And as of right now, I’m convinced that it has that.

Katsura gained media attention very soon. However, the media was more interested in her gender than in her professional abilities. One article referred to the winner as a “real Japanese cue-tee.” Katsura received more respect from other pool players.

A highly anticipated 1952 game between Hoppe and Katsura received various coverage in the media. Hoppe won the world championship 51 times. Small-framed Katsura was a Japanese woman. Katsura was the first woman to take part in an international billiards championship, but she was not able to dethrone Hoppe as world champion. 

What made Masako Katsura Japanese so unique compared to other Players of her time?

Masako defeated her opponent thanks to her remarkable skill in the game. Even people who have a lot more experience than she has. Many people thought that her technique was so unique. 

She acquired the game from a mysterious source. For the 1952 World Championships, Masako traveled to London. She competed against some of the top pool players in the world there. However, she won. 

Later, she continued to defend her championship in numerous additional competitions all around the world. Her skills and competitive nature got her the name “The Lady of the Pool.” 

Achievements of Masako 

A well-famous Japanese pool player is Masako. She was the world champion in 1983 and has won numerous additional honors. The esteemed Professional Billiard Association (PBA) Player was one of these honors in 1994. She was recognized in the World Hall of Fame for her accomplishments. Additionally, the Japan Sport Council honored her with an Achievement Award. 

Retirement and Death 

The carom billiards masako katsura, a legendary pool player who won numerous championships, retired in 1961, but she played her final game at a pool hall in San Francisco in 1976. She returned to Tokyo after her spouse passed away in 1967 and she was left childless. An unexpected heart attack took Masako’s life on December 20, 1995.

A true Legacy that Remains alive: Carom Billiards Masako Katsura

Masako gave women access to a new field. In addition to giving the sport more appeal to women, she had the “strength of a man.” At a pool hall in San Francisco, Katsura made her final appearance in 1976. She picked up the cue, ran 100 points, and then essentially vanished. 

Once the Women’s Professional Billiard Association was established in the 1970s, Katsura was honored with a Hall of Fame induction. 1995 saw the death of Masako. She has made a remarkable influence on culture in general as well as the billiards sport specifically. 


In the end, we can say that masako katsura was an inspiration for many women as she opened the door for women in the new field called the Billiards game. She was a legend who made history and her nation proud of her. Hope you got all the information about this amazing lady.

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