Everything About Masako Katsura: The First Lady of Billiards

It was very difficult for a woman to become a billiard player at the age that men just could play it but Katsura introduced herself as the first lady of billiard. She had a very insatiable passion for billiards and continuously motivated other women to discover their innate abilities and invest their time and energy in this exciting game. The Katsura made unforgettable contributions to the flourishing of this game among women through her support and encouragement. Masako Katsura was not a strange and extraordinary child. She was an ordinary girl that had 3 sisters and a brother. When she was 12, her father died. Still, Katsura’s mother was such a powerful woman to rear her children alone with dignity.

Masako Katsura’s profession

Everything about Masako Katsura: The First Lady of Billiards

When she was 14, Masako Katsura made her dreams come true by playing billiards for the first time. Katsura who was born in Tokyo had a traditional family. When her father died, she was highly supported by her mother, so she did not suffer from loneliness. Since she grappled with her health problems, she decided to focus on sports. Therefore, her mother wanted her to play billiards to reinforce her endurance, mental tranquility, and physical well-being. Billiards gained remarkable popularity in Tokyo in the 1920s. Katsura succeeded in obtaining professional billiards skills in the pool hall which belonged to her brother-in-law. She was a hard-working woman and tried a lot to improve her skills. Due to this hard work, Katsura gained her first championship when she was just 15.

After her father’s death, her older sister raised her. When she became a champion as a young girl, she became known publicly and attracted the attention of many. She can make a great effect on Japan’s champion, Kinrey Matsuyama by her championship and popularity. He got surprised by viewing Masako Katsura’s hard work and successes as a young girl. Since then, he decided to become the instructor of young Masako Katsura. With the help of her mentor, Katsura gained new billiard skills and approached the fulfillment of her dreams.

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Masako Katsura relocated to America

In 1950, World War II had negative effects on the economy and severely damaged sports. Still, when the war finished, Masako started concentrating on retaining her fame and appeared in a one-woman performance for Japanese soldiers. She amused the American soldiers with billiards performances, which finally contributed to her attaining an international reputation. Welker Cochran, an American champion, invited her after becoming aware of her bright skills and dexterity in the media. After her marriage, Katsura moved to California in 1951. She was surprised to find out that billiards in the USA was just a male game. While in the USA, only men could play billiards, women could work and play in billiards salons in Japan.

How Masako Katsura was known as the First lady of Billiards?

Everything about Masako Katsura: The First Lady of Billiards

Welker Cochran and Katsura encouraged American women to play billiards. Some highly experienced and famous billiards players recognized Katsura for her skill and praised her game. Furthermore, she gained the name “the first lady of billiards” in 1952 since she was the first lady to take part in an international billiards contest. Soon, she could gain an international reputation and recognition.

She wanted to prove that women can also play billiards like men. Both men and women can play billiards, regardless of gender. In the 1950s, Katsura could win almost every international championship and gained remarkable achievements. Still, when she lost the game to Worst, she finally decided to stop playing billiards and participated in no billiards competitions anymore.

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The death of Masako Katsura

After succeeding in several Japanese billiards competitions, Katsura appeared in some television interviews, shows, and public events. She also authored some books about billiards including “Improve your Billiards” and “Introduction to Billiards.” Apart from this, based on conjectures, her husband Greenleaf was not happy when others spoke or gave opinions about his wife. In 1995, Masako Katsura spent the last days of her life in her sister’s house. This was a terrible day because history lost one of the most influential female athletes! But her achievements and fair and generous behaviors will remain forever and will be inspiring. He will be remembered as one of the best and pioneer billiards players in the whole history.   


Masako Katsura was a famous Japanese billiards player who could the gender obstacle in playing billiards matches. When billiards was a male-dominated game at that time, she could win many international and national billiards competitions and earn an international reputation and fame for her brilliant skills. She also paved the way for other women to play billiards like men and fight gender discrimination.  If you liked this article, you will also like our blog on Arturo Moreno’s secret to success. It will certainly inspire you.   

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