The Story of Masako Katsura, the First Lady of Billiard

masako katsura


Masako Katsura was an amazing lady. She was the first lady of billiard and achieved success in her field despite having a difficult life start. Born into a low-income family in Japan, Katsura overcame incredible adversity to achieve many great things. This inspiring story is sure to touch your heart!

How Masako Katsura Became the First Lady of Billiard

Masako Katsura is considered the first lady of billiards and has a fascinating story to tell. Born in 1898 in Japan, Masako was married at 16 to Shotaro Katsura, the son of a wealthy rice farmer. The young couple lived on their farm until 1922, when their marriage divorced.

After the divorce, Masako decided to move to Tokyo and pursue a career as a singer. It wasn’t easy for her at first; she faced much discrimination from Japanese society for being divorced and unmarried. But her persistence paid off, and she eventually began to make a name for herself as a singer.

In 1939, Masako met Kenichi Matsubara, an engineer working on a new type of pool table. She convinced him to sponsor her project to create what would eventually become known as the Western-style billiard table. Together, they developed and patented the design, and Masako started manufacturing tablets under the brand name “Katsura.”

Over time, the tables became popular throughout Asia and parts of Europe. In 1988, Masako retired from her company after celebrating its 50th anniversary. Nowadays, Katsura tables are still handmade in Japan and are some of the most sought-after items by billiard enthusiasts worldwide.

What Life Was Like for Masako Katsura as a Married Woman

Masako Katsura was a Japanese woman who played professionally in the late 1940s and early 1950s. She is best known for being the first wife of professional billiard player Kenichi Matsubara, with whom she had two children. Even though she only played in regional tournaments then, she quickly became one of Japan’s top players and won several major titles.

Life as a married woman for Masako Katsura was both challenging and fulfilling. On the one hand, she had to juggle her career with raising two young children. But on the other hand, living life alongside her husband Kenichi Matsubara created an intimacy that few women experience in their lifetime.

After winning several major titles, Masako Katsura retired from professional play in 1954. She continued to live an entire life, spending time with her family and pursuing other interests. She passed away in 1998 at the age of 84 years old.

The Birth of her Daughter, Koto

On January 5, 1912, Masako Katsura gave birth to a daughter, Koto. At the time of her delivery, Japan was still in its Meiji Period, and Masako’s family was one of the wealthier classes. Koto would grow up to be an accomplished ballroom dancer and actress. In 1941, when World War II began, Koto and her mother were living in Kyoto. Because Kyoto was a major cultural centre and a target for air raids, the Katsuras moved to Tokyo, where they lived in hiding for six years.

In 1946, after Japan had surrendered to Allied Forces and Emperor Hirohito had been removed from power, Koto travelled back to Kyoto to take care of her family’s remaining assets. Shortly after that, she married Kenzo Matsushita, son of the president of Mitsubishi Electric Corporation. The couple had two daughters: Akiko Matsushita (1948) and Kyoko Matsushita (1951). In 1978 Kenzo retired from his position with Mitsubishi Electric Corporation, and the family returned to Tokyo, where they lived until Kenzo died in 1992. After Kenzo’s death, Masako lived in their home until her death on October 21, 2005, at 108 years old.

The Beginning of Her Autobiographical Story

Masako Katsura was born in Japan in 1931. The daughter of a high-ranking official, Masako, was raised with a luxurious lifestyle that would later be instrumental in shaping her worldview. As a teenager, she became interested in billiards and became a world-class player. In 1957, she married the then-Marquis Okinawa Matsumoto and moved to England with him.

The Matsumoto eventually had three children, and while they initially enjoyed their time in England, the family began to feel restless. Masako missed her home country and longed to return to Japan to see her family again. A chance encounter changed everything for her and Matsumoto when he met Lord Higuchi, the owner of the Kitaniuki Club, where Masako frequently played billiards. Her skills impressed Higuchi, and he offered her a job as his secretary.

In 1960, Masako returned to Japan with her husband and worked at the Kitaniuki Club full-time. Over the next few years, she transitioned from being Lady Okinawa Matsumoto’s secretary to one of Japan’s most powerful women, thanks to her connections within the Japanese government and business world. In 1965, Lord Higuchi passed away suddenly without an heir, and Masako stepped into his role as head of the Kitaniuki Club. Under her reign, the club became one of Tokyo’s most popular nightlife destinations.

In 1988, after 27 years of running the Kit

The Countdown to the 1972 World Championship

Masako Katsura is the first woman to win a world pool championship. She was born on November 15, 1935, in Middleton, England. When Katsura was ten, her father taught her how to play pool. She became perfect and started winning tournaments. In 1962, she won the Women’s World Nine-Ball Championship. Six years later, she became the first woman to win a world nine-ball championship. In 1970, she won the Women’s World Ten-Ball Championship. In 1972 she won the Women’s World Eight-Ball Championship. This made her the first woman to win a world pool championship and the overall world champion in both nine-ball and ten-ball.

The Championship: A Victory for Woman’s Sports

Though few people know it, Masako Katsura is the first lady of billiards. Born in 1910, she became a noted player and referee during Japan’s post-World War II boom years. Katsura went on to found the Japan Women’s Billiard Association, and she remains its president today.

Katsura was one of the driving forces behind the growth of women’s sports in postwar Japan. She fought to get women admitted to swimming clubs and tennis courts and helped start female leagues for soccer, track and field, table tennis, golf, badminton, and billiards. Her tireless efforts paid off: In 1969, Japan fielded its first Olympic women’s softball team.

Despite her success in promoting women’s sports, Katsura faced occasional discrimination. She was often barred from tournaments because she was a woman; sometimes, opponents would refuse to play against her because they felt compelled to win by any means possible. But Katsura never backed down from a challenge—nor did she stop trying to make sure that other girls could have the same opportunities for achievement that she had enjoyed. Today, her work continues as the Japan Women’s Billiard Association strives to give girls across the country a chance to develop their talents and have fun while doing it.


Masako Katsura is one of the fascinating figures in billiard history. Born in Japan in 1887, she was the first lady to become a world champion and arguably the greatest player of her era. Along with her contemporaries, Geza Maros and Toni Howard, Matsura helped shift professional billiards’ focus from strategy-based games to pure speed-play tournaments. Her story is a testament to the dedication, ambition, and sheer force of will – qualities any athlete can learn from. Today, she remains one of the billiard’s most iconic figures, and her story is sure to captivate young and old readers.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here