How Masako Katsura, sometimes known as “The First Lady Of Billiards,” Became A Global Icon

Masako Katsura: Who Was She?

Masako Katsura was. She became the first female world champion in the sport of pool, which was previously played only by men. She paved the way for other women to participate in the sport and contribute significantly.

Masako Katsura was the first woman to ever compete on the world stage of the pool. She was an unusual competitor who swiftly gained notoriety in Japan in a sport that men have always dominated. From there, she began to rule the rest of the world as the “First Lady of billiards,” taking part in international competitions and triumphing over all her opponents.

In the beginning, Tokyo.

Masako Katsura began playing pool at the young age of 14. She was raised in a strict home and was born in Tokyo in 1913. Her mother grew even more protective of her when her father died and encouraged her to learn how to play pool.

Masako Katsura struggled with her health when she was a little child. She lacked much strength and was constantly exhausted. Her mother urged her to learn billiards. As a result, to help her become more intellectually and physically robust.

The 1920s in Tokyo were a billiards boom time. The pool hall owned by Masako Katsura brother-in-law was crucial in identifying her inherent skill. Naturally, she obtained employment at the pool hall and diligently began honing her skills.

At age 15, she took home her first championship. She caught the eye of Kinney Matsuyama, the reigning champion of Japan, as a result. Matsuyama, widely known as the Japanese Willie Hoppe, began training the young Katsura. He was also the one who introduced her to the three-cushion pool.

With her talent for trick shots and newly acquired accuracy in three-cushion billiards, Katsura introduced grace to the game. It began laying the foundation for a future beyond her wildest expectations.

Going to America With Her Game

World War II hurt Katsura’s ascent to fame. She made the most of her profession in every way possible, starting with a one-woman show for Japanese soldiers. After the war, she started entertaining American soldiers with billiards feats.

Her international career began as a result. She was invited to visit the United States by a champion named Welker Cochran after word of her skill and grace swiftly spread.

Katsura relocated to California in 1951. She was shocked to see how few ladies were present at the time. In billiards rooms all around Japan, women both worked and played. In the USA, this was not the case. American pool rooms were distinctly recognised as being a masculine realm and were run by men, for men.

The Queen of Billiards

Welker Cochran was Katsura’s manager when she first began her career. However, the press focused more on her gender than her ability. He spoke up for her in the media. One publication even referred to this amazing champion as “a real Japanese cue-tee.”

Fortunately, Katsura received the recognition she deserved from other pool players. She advanced in the ranks as she played more and more champions. The media and her opponents watched in astonishment as she did.

She helped make room for women in the sport, so she rose to fame as the sport’s ambassador. She consistently finished in the top three in all her international competitions through the 1950s, winning and placing well despite being a woman. But in 1961, she called it quits following a challenging defeat to the incumbent world champion Harold Worst.

She was the first woman to participate in international pool competitions, earning her the moniker “the First Lady of the pool” and cementing her place in pool history.

Masako Katsura & A Lively Legacy

Masako Katsura gave women access to a new field. She not only made the sport more appealing to women but also had the “strength of a man.”

At a pool hall in San Francisco, Katsura made her final appearance in 1976. She took a cue, ran up a 100-point run, and vanished. When the Women’s Professional Billiard Association was established in the 1970s, Katsura was inducted into its Hall of Fame by a group of players.

Masako Katsura relocated back to Japan and passed dead in 1995. She has had a remarkable influence on culture and the game of pool. She has become so popular that she frequently appears in pop art, stories about influential women, and even her Google Doodle animation! You can get her biography right here as well!

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