Masako Katsura : the first champion lady billiard player

Masako Katsura
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Masako Katsura was born in Tokyo, Japan, on March 7, 1913. She is a well-known athlete. Most people call her “The First Lady of Billiards.” In 1952, she was the first woman to win the World Three-Cushion Billiards Championship.

At a time when only men played billiards, Katsura used this game to make a name for herself. She loved playing billiards and told other women all the time to follow their hearts and try this game that is usually played by men. Katsura’s contribution to getting other women to play billiards will never be forgotten.

Who is Masako Katsura

In Japan in the 1950s, Masako Katsura was a well-known player of carrom billiard. Katsura was known as the “First Lady of Billiards.” People also called her “Katy.” She is a world-class carrom billiards player and has won many awards in a game that most men play.

Katsy was the first woman to play in an international game of billiards, which was a big deal. Most people thought that women couldn’t play billiards before Masako taught them how. But Katsura not only disproves that idea, but she also proves that she is good at games.

Katsura was born in Japan, but she and her American husband moved to the United States after they got married. She is well-known in both countries for playing carom billiard.

This article tells you a lot about Masako Katsura, such as her early life, her personal life, her career, and other interesting things about her. So, let’s stop wasting time and start learning about Katsy.

EARLY LIFE OF Masako Katsura 

Masako Katsura was born in Tokyo, Japan, on March 7, 1913. She had three sisters and one brother as brothers and sisters. When Katsura’s father died, she was only 12 years old. When her father passed away, she moved in with her sister and brother-in-law.

Tomio Kobashi, her brother-in-law, liked to play pool, and he had a separate room for it. At that time, people in Tokyo liked to play pool. Masako became interested in billiards, and when she was 14, she started working as a billiards attendant.

Masako  learned how to play pool from Tomio Kobashi. Masako’s mother always wanted her to play billiards to get stronger because she was very weak and always tired. Once, she said;

billiards so I could get exercise and get stronger.” Later, when her family saw how much she liked playing billiards, they gave her one as a gift. Masako started training at home and then started competing against Japanese men. Masako won the straight rail tournament for women when she was only 15 years old. Matsuyama was very impressed with Masako’s game, so he taught her how to play expert-level 3-cushion pool. In Japan, Masako started getting paid to play pool in 1947.

Beginning of Katsura’s Sports Career

Masako Katsura took her passion seriously and began working on her skills day and night. After enough practice, she went to the Women’s Championship straight rail and beat her opponent.

After that, she never looked back, and people from all over the world began to praise her. In an interview from 1959, she said, “Then I went pro and started touring with my sister all over Japan, China, and Formosa.” In different years, her sisters have also won the straight rail championships.

Kinney Matsuyama, a professional billiards player who had won Japan’s national three-cushion championship many times, noticed her in the meantime. In 1952, a Times article said that he was the Japanese Willie Hoppe. Katsura impressed Matsuyama, so he started coaching her for master-level tournaments.

By 1947, she had broken all the rules in billiards and was the only professional female player in the country. She won a lot of games at the national level, which made her the talk of the sports world.

After that, Matsuyama taught her how to play three-cushion billiards, which was a tricky game that required a lot of mental strength and skill.

It was a new challenge for Katsura, but she got it right away. In 1949, she took part in the national three-cushion tournament in Japan and came in second.

 Japan First Lady of Billiards

Together, Welker Cochran and Katsura pushed for women to be allowed to play billiards in the US. Masako Katsura was even called “a real Japanese Cue-tee.” But some very experienced pool players praised Katsura’s skill and liked the way she played. She was also called “the first lady of billiards” because she was the first woman to compete in an international billiards tournament in 1952.

Soon, she became known all over the world. She showed that billiards isn’t just a game for men. No matter their gender, both men and women can play it. In the 1950s, Katsura won almost every international tournament she entered. But when she lost to Harold Worst, she decided to leave the game.

Masako Katsura’s favorite tips and tricks for pool

Masako Katsura is an expert at the game of billiards, and she’s given us some of her best tips and tricks. So, if you want to get better at the game, be sure to read Masako’s tips:

1. The first thing Masako says is to practice your aim. She says that you should set up a clear target and practice shooting until you can hit it every time.

2. The second piece of advice from Masako is to learn how to control the cue ball. She says that you should try different shots and learn how to make the cue ball spin in different ways.

3. The third tip from Masako is to always know where your opponent is. She says to watch your opponent’s cue stick and their body language to figure out what their next shot will be.

Masako Katsura
Masako Katsura

Masako KatsuraJourney from Japan to the US

In 1948, Air Force Master Sergeant Vernon Greenleaf was stationed in Japan, where Katsura lived. This is how he met Katsura. When they met, they got to know each other well, and after two years, in 1951, they got married.

At the end of 1951, when Greenleaf was stationed at home, Katsura and Greenleaf, who had just gotten married, moved to Sacramento Mather Air Force Base. As she and her husband came to the US, she was given welcome parties. Welker Cochran, who had won six three-cushion titles, couldn’t wait to meet Miss Katsura, who was known as the “first lady of billiards.”

As more soldiers came back to the US after the war, Cochran heard more and more about this one woman who beat all the men at billiards.

Not worth of Masako Katsura 

Masako Katsura was a good artist, and over the years she made a lot of money from it. She loved traditional Japanese art and culture and was able to make a living from it. Sources say that Masako had a net worth of about $5 million at the time of her death in 1995. Even though she died more than 20 years ago, her many works of art keep her memory alive. If she were still alive today, we can only guess how much more money she would have made from her work. Masako was an artist, and we should all remember her as such.

Greatest things of Masako Katsura

Katy Hoppe, her brother Willie Hoppe, a man from Mexico named Joe Chamaco, Herb Hardt, Art Rubin, Joe Procida, Ray Kilgore, Jay Bozeman, Irving Crane, and Katy’s coach, Matsuyama, all played in a round-robin tournament. Hoppe lost to Matsuyama. During the 17-day tournament, which had 45 games, there were 17 days.

The tournament was called “the biggest gathering of pool players since before World War II.”

In 1952, Katsy and Cochran started their exhibition tour. There is a main reason why the media show Katsy as an “exotic and beautiful woman.” She was 5 feet, 5 inches tall, and weighed 88 pounds (40 kilograms).

The woman wore a kimono and high heels to dinner. On March 21, Katsy shocked everyone when she got rid of Ray “The Giant Killer” Kilgore, the fourth favorite, with a score of 50-46.

  Masako Katsura future plans

        Masako Katsura is a legend in the world of pool, and she doesn’t look like she’s going to slow down any time soon. She wants to keep playing in tournaments and promoting billiards in the coming years. We’re excited to see what Masako will do next!

Masako Katsura Marriage

Masako Katsura won not only the games she played in Billiards tournaments in Japan but also the hearts of the people who watched her. People wanted to see her everywhere, so she started going on a lot of interviews, events, and billiards shows.

She didn’t take long to get a lot of fans. Seeing a young woman perform with such skill and talent was fascinating for the crowd.

In 1947, Katsura met Vernor Greenleaf. At that time, Greenleaf was a master sergeant in the American Army. Greenleaf was sent to the Haneda Air Base in Tokyo at that time, where he met Katsura.

Greenleaf was attracted to Katsura, so he asked her to show him how to play billiards. Soon, they fell in love, and they decided to get married. On November 30, 1950, they said their vows.

Masako Katsura Family

Masako Katsura was born in Tokyo, Japan, on March 7, 1913. People don’t think much about Katsura’s childhood in Japan. Katsura had a brother and three sisters. When Katsura was 12, their father died, and she moved in with her older sister and her sister’s husband, Tomio Kobashi, who ran a billiards parlor.

Masako Katsura
Masako Katsura

 Last words of Masako Katsura

Masako Katsura started doing TV interviews, exhibitions, and public events after he won a few billiards tournaments in Japan. She also wrote “Improve Your Billiards” and “Introduction to Billiards,” which are books about the game. When Katsura lost to Worst in 1961, she decided to stop playing in billiards tournaments.

Aside from this, it is thought that her husband Greenleaf did not like it when other people said things about his wife. Masako died in the home of her sister Noriko in 1995. On that day, we lost a great person and athlete who was a real gem. But her actions and sportsmanship will always be remembered, and we will always look to her as an example.

Masako Katsura Death

Masako Katsura was a great billiards champion. She retired in 1961, but she played her last game at the San Francisco billiard hall in 1976. Since she didn’t have any children and her husband had died in 1967, she moved back to Tokyo. Masako died suddenly of a heart attack on December 20, 1995.

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