Masako Katsura: The Billiards Legend Who Conquered Three-Cushions

masako katsura

Masako Katsura made history when she showcased her extraordinary billiard skills in San Francisco in the 1950s. During that time, most sports were male-dominated, but Masako Katsura challenged the status quo and astounded everyone with her trick shots in three-cushions billiards, a game known for its extraordinary difficulty. Despite the era’s gender norms, she managed to steal the show and compete with the best male players, defeating champions of that time.

Masako Katsura, also known as “Katsy,” learned to play billiards at 14 years old, working in her brother-in-law’s establishment in Tokyo, Japan. Her passion for billiards developed as she observed customers playing in different styles and attempting various trick shots. She won the Japanese Women’s Straight-rail Championship two years later, which garnered the attention of Kinrey Matsuyama, an undisputed billiards champion at the time. Matsuyama immediately transitioned Katsura’s skills to the tougher and more competitive three-cushions billiards.

In 1952, Katsura arrived in the San Francisco Bay Area and defeated everyone in her path, securing her reputation as a legendary billiards player. Six months later, she arrived in Chicago, where everyone eagerly anticipated her magic trick shots. As she went smoky after smoky, she not only took on male players but also defeated champions of that time. Her success earned her fame worldwide, and she became a phenomenon in the billiards world.

Katsura couldn’t even speak English, but newspapers were writing about her awe-inspiring plays. Despite her lack of understanding, she remained stoic and showed no reaction during her appearances. However, she once said that she appreciated all the resentment she received. Her success continued until 1961, when her professional career ended.

Masako Katsura, also known as

Katsy, is a name that is synonymous with the world of billiards. She is hailed as one of the greatest billiard players of all time, known for her incredible skills and trick shots. Katsura became a worldwide sensation in the 1950s when she amazed audiences in San Francisco with her uncanny billiard skills, stealing the show from male players and champions of that time. But who was this miracle lady, and how did she become such a force to be reckoned with in the world of billiards?

What is Three-Cushion Billiards?

Three-cushion billiards, also known as three-cushion carom, is a form of billiards that is played quite differently from traditional billiards. To score in this game, the player’s cue ball must contact at least three cushions and an object ball, in any order. It is a challenging game that requires great skill, accuracy, and technique, and it is not for the faint of heart.

Masako Katsura: The Legend of Billiards According to the Chicago Tribune, Masako Katsura was a woman who took up the challenge of playing three-cushion billiards, something that had never been done before by a woman. She arrived in San Francisco Bay Area on May 8, 1952, where she defeated everyone and wowed the audience with her amazing trick shots. Six months later, she arrived in Chicago, where she faced off against some of the best male players and champions of that time, and she emerged victorious.

Katsura was not only a trailblazer for women in the world of billiards, but she was also an excellent player, known for her incredible skill and accuracy. She competed with the best male players and showed off her skills, winning the admiration and respect of everyone who saw her play.

The Interesting Thing About Masako Katsura’s Fame

Despite being a worldwide sensation, the interesting thing about Masako Katsura’s fame is that she couldn’t even speak English. While newspapers and media outlets were writing about her amazing plays and incredible skills, Katsura remained stoic and eventually caught the attention of a professional billiard player who offered to train her. She trained with him for a few years, mastering the different shots and techniques, and eventually, she became a skilled player herself.

Masako Katsura’s Legacy

Masako Katsura’s legacy as a trailblazer in the world of billiards is unparalleled. She inspired countless women to take up the sport and showed that gender should never be a barrier to success. Despite facing discrimination and prejudice, she remained focused on her game and achieved great success.

Katsura’s incredible talent and skill also earned her a place in the Billiard Congress of America’s Hall of Fame. Her legacy lives on, and she continues to inspire generations of billiard players around the world.


Masako Katsura was not only a remarkable billiard player, but she was also a trailblazer and inspiration to women in sports. Her story is a testament to the power of determination, hard work, and passion, and it serves as a reminder that anyone can achieve greatness with the right mindset and attitude.


Irvin is a freelance writer and blogger with over 5 years of experience in the industry. He specializes in writing about personal finance, technology, and travel. He has a keen interest in the latest trends in these fields and enjoys sharing his knowledge with his readers. John's work has been featured on several popular websites and he has a dedicated following of readers who enjoy his relatable writing style and in-depth analysis. When he's not writing, Irvin enjoys hiking and exploring new places.

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