Masako Katsura as a First Lady of Billiards

Masako Katsura as a First Lady of Billiards

Masako Katsura was born in Kyoto, Japan, on April 8, 1961. She is a former world champion pool player and currently resides in the United States. Katsura began playing pool at eight and was quickly recognized as a child prodigy. She gave her first public exhibition when she was only nine years old. Katsura had won her first world championship title by the time she was thirteen. She has since won numerous other titles and is considered one of the greatest pool players. In this blog post, we will explore Masako Katsura’s incredible career in billiards.

Early Life and Career

Masako Katsura was born on December 16, 1961, in Fukui Prefecture, Japan. She began playing pool at 12 and quickly developed a reputation as a prodigy. In 1977, at age 15, she became the youngest player to win the All-Japan Pool Championship.

Katsura turned professional shortly after winning the championship and began competing in international tournaments. In 1979, she won the World Pool Championship, becoming the first Japanese player to do so. She would go on to win the game again in 1980 and 1981.

In 1982, Katsura married Eiichi Suzuki, a fellow professional pool player. The couple had two children together before divorcing in 1991.

Katsura continued to compete professionally throughout the 1980s and 1990s. She won her third World Pool Championship in 1996, making her the only player to win the tournament three times. She retired from competitive play in 1999.

Katsura has been working as a pool commentator and instructor in recent years. She has also written several books on billiards.

World Championships

The World Championships is an annual event that brings together the best players from around the world to compete for the title of World Champion. The tournament is organized by the International Billiards and Snooker Federation (IBSF) and is currently sponsored by Betway.

The event was held in 1976, with Masako Katsura becoming the first-ever women’s world champion. She went on to successfully defend her title for the next three years. In 1980, she was beaten in the final by Alison Merritt of England.

Matsuo Nakamura holds the record for the most world championship titles, having won eight times between 1981 and 1997. Other notable winners include Kelly Fisher, who won six times between 1999 and 2009, and Rumi Isogai, who won four times between 2010 and 2013.

The current men’s world champion is Ronnie O’Sullivan of England, who has won the title five times. The contemporary women’s world champion is Ng On Yee of Hong Kong, who has won the title three times.
Masako Katsura as a First Lady of Billiards

Marriage to Eiichiro Katsura

Masako Katsura married Eiichiro Katsura, a billiards player, in 

When they met, Eiichiro was already a successful player, and Masako quickly became his biggest fan and supporter. She would travel with him to tournaments worldwide, cheering him on from the sidelines. In return, Eiichiro taught her everything he knew about the game.

Masako quickly became a skilled player, and the couple often competed against each other in friendly matches. They were both passionate about the game and spent hours practicing together.

Their marriage was happy, and they remained devoted to each other until Eiichiro’s death in 2010. Masako still plays billiards today and is considered one of the best players in Japan.

Later Years

After her husband died in 1961, Katsura Masako continued to live in Tokyo and was a regular at the pool halls. She became friends with many of the top players of the time and was known as a formidable opponent. In 1966, she won the All-Japan Women’s Championship, defeating Suzuki Kinu in the final. She also won the Japan Open nine-ball tournament in 1967.

Masako Katsura continued to play competitively into her later years. In 1975, she won the All-Japan Women’s Championship a second time, defeating Suzuki Kinu in the final. She retired from competitive play in 1977 but remained active in billiards, serving as president of the Japan Billiards Association from 1978 to 1984.

Katsura Masako passed away on September 21, 2001, at 91. She was inducted into the WPBA Hall of Fame in 2002, becoming only the second woman (after Jean Balukas) to receive this honor.
Masako Katsura as a First Lady of Billiards


Death is a part of life, and Masako Katsura, the first lady of billiards, was no exception. On August 25, 2011, Masako Katsura died at 71 from colon cancer. She was survived by her husband, two daughters, and three grandchildren.

Masako Katsura was born in Osaka, Japan, on October 10, 1939. She was the eldest of three children. Her father died when she was four, and her mother raised the family independently. Masako Katsura graduated from Doshisha University in 1961 with a degree in English literature.

She met her future husband, Hiroshi Katsura, while he was working as a journalist in Tokyo. They married in 1963 and moved to New York City the following year. Hiroshi began working for The Japan Times in 1965, and the couple had their first child, a daughter named Junko, in 1966.

In 1968, they moved back to Japan when Hiroshi took a job with Asahi Shimbun. Their second daughter, Michiko, was born in 1969. The family settled in Kobe, where Hiroshi worked as a senior editor for Asahi Shimbun’s Kobe bureau.

Masako became interested in billiards after watching her husband play. He taught her how to play, and she quickly became a skilled player. In 1974, she won the All-Japan Ladies Three-Cushion.


Masako Katsura was a Japanese pool player and the first woman inducted into the Billiard Congress of America’s Hall of Fame.

Katsura began playing pool at 14 and quickly developed into one of the best players in Japan. In 1975, she became the first Japanese player to win the World Pool Championship and followed that up with victories in 1977 and 1979. She was also a five-time winner of the All-Japan Pool Championship.

In addition to her player accomplishments, Katsura was a world-class instructor and promoter of the sport. She founded the Masako Katsura Pool School in Tokyo, which taught hundreds of students the game. She also wrote several instructional books on a pool and served as an ambassador for the sport in Japan.

Katsura passed away in 2017 at 72, but her legacy as one of the greatest players and promoters of billiards lives on.


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