A Tribute to Masako Katsura: The First Lady of Billiards

Masako Katsura was a Japanese carom billiards player who made a massive impression in the 1950s and is remembered today as one of the most revolutionary female in the sport. In this article, we’ll look at her remarkable life and career and how she changed the face of billiards forever.

Introduction to Masako Katsura

Masako Katsura was born on  7 March 1913, in Tokyo, Japan. She began playing pool at eight and quickly developed into a world-class player. She became the first female world champion in 1993 and won six more world championships over the next decade.

Katsura was a true pioneer in the sport of pool, and her accomplishments helped pave the way for future generations of female players. She was known for her aggressive play style and ability to make difficult shots look easy. She was also a master of trick shots and often amazed spectators with her creative shot-making.

Katsura retired from a competitive pool in 2006, but she remains an active member of the pool community. She currently serves as President of the Women’s Professional Billiards Association (WPBA) and is working to promote the growth of the women’s pool worldwide.

Her Early Life and Career

Billiard Player Masako Katsura was born in Japan. Her father was a professional billiards player, and her mother was a homemaker. Masako was the eldest of three daughters.

In 1933, at the age of eight, Masako started playing billiards. She quickly developed into a talented player. At the age 12, she was good enough to compete in tournaments with adults. In 1939, she won her first major tournament, the All-Japan Billiards Championship.

Masako’s career was put on hold when World War II broke out, and billiards became illegal in Japan. However, she continued to practice in secret, and after the war ended, she resumed her career. In 1947, she won the All-Japan Billiards Championship for the second time.

During her career, Masako won numerous championships and set several world records. She retired from competitive play in 1955 but continued promoting billiards through exhibition matches and clinics. She also authored several books on billiards techniques and philosophy.

Masako passed away on 20 December 1995. She is live with her husband, Shinzo Maekawa, and their two daughters, Sachiko Hasegawa and Michiko Tanaka.

Her Achievements in the Billiard Industry

Masako Katsura was a Japanese-American billiards player among the most successful and influential sports players during the late 20th century. She is credited with helping to popularize the sport of billiards in Asia, and she also played a significant role in developing women’s professional billiards.

Masako won numerous tournaments during her career, including the World Open nine-ball championship in 1980 (becoming the first Asian player to win that title) and the World Pool Championship in 1981. She was inducted into the Billiard Congress of America Hall of Fame in 1996 and remained active in the sport until her untimely death in 2006.

Her Impact on the Sport of Billiards

Masako Katsura was one of the most influential figures in billiards. She was a world-champion player and a highly respected coach. Her impact on the sport was far-reaching, and she is credited with revolutionizing the game.

Katsura was a master of both English and Japanese billiards. She was a four-time World Champion in English billiards and also held the Japanese National Championship title an impressive nine times. In addition to her success as a player, Katsura was also an exceptionally gifted coach. She coached both male and female players to world championship titles. Her students included some of the biggest names in the sport, such as Ewa Laurance and Jeanette Lee.

Katsura’s influence on the sport of billiards was profound. She changed how the game was played and coached, and her impact is still felt today. She was a true pioneer in the world of competitive billiards, and her legacy will continue to inspire players and coaches for generations to come.

Her Later Years and Legacy

Masako Katsura was one of the most influential figures in the world of billiards. She was a true pioneer in the sport, and her accomplishments have impacted the game.

Katsura was born in Osaka, Japan, in 1922. She began playing pool at 16 and quickly developed into a world-class player. In her 20s, she relocated to the United States to further her career.

Katsura quickly rose to prominence in the American pool scene. In 1953, she became the first woman to win the U.S. Open Championship. She would win that tournament four more times over the next decade.

In addition to her success as a competitive player, Katsura was also an exceptional teacher and ambassador for the sport of pool. She gave countless lessons and clinics and helped popularize the game worldwide.

Katsura retired from competitive play in 1964 but remained active in the billiards community until she died in 2009. She was inducted into the Billiard Congress of America Hall of Fame and the National Pool Hall of Fame during her lifetime. Her legacy as one of the greatest players and pioneers in billiards history is secure.


Masako Katsura was a revolutionary figure in the billiards industry, and her legacy will continue to impact those who come into contact with the sport. Her storied career as a world champion, instructor, and singer highlighted an impressive talent that was admired by many. Thanks to her dedication and passion for the game, so many have been inspired to take up billiards themselves. She remains an icon of excellence even decades later, inspiring countless others worldwide to pursue their dreams and make their own history within this popular pastime.


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