Masako Katsura, known as “Katsy,” is a famous billiards player from Japan. She was most active during the 1950s and blazed a trail for women in the sport. We take a look at her early life, her career, and her influences on billiards.
Masako Katsura ‘Katsy’
During the 1950s, Masako ‘Katsy” Katsura was a top-ranked billiards player in Japan. Unlike most female competitors, Katsura devoted 6-7 hours daily to the game. She even competed in the world billiards championship in 1954.
Katsura’s billiards career began when she was a child. She soon reached world class and placed second in two national billiards championships. At this time, an American serviceman stationed at Haneda Air Base in Tokyo introduced her to the game. The two eventually became engaged and married in 1950.
Despite her early years of hardships, Masako Katsura forged a path in billiards for women. She was the first female player to compete for the world billiards title. After retiring from competition, she lived an everyday life. She had a tough childhood but eventually became one of the world’s best players.
Born in Tokyo, Japan, Katsura began playing billiards at age fourteen. Although her father had died when she was twelve, her mother encouraged her to pursue her love for the sport. She won the women’s straight rail championship at fifteen and began touring Asia against male players.
Katsura became a household name in the United States. Her billiards career included appearances on several popular television shows, including ABC’s “You Asked For It” and “What’s My Line” as a mystery guest. She went on to win the world championship four times and became an international celebrity.
Although she retired from competition in her late fifties, Katsura continued to play exhibition matches until her death. She even published two billiards instruction books. Kathy made her television debut in 1959, appearing on ‘What’s My Line?’ and ‘You Asked For It!’.
Masako Katsura inspired many women in the United States who longed to play billiards. She broke down barriers and proved that women could hold their own in a male-dominated sport. She also paved the way for other women to enter the sport. In the 1950s, she even competed in the World Championship billiards competition, beating some of the day’s best players. Eventually, Katsura became a member of the Women’s Professional Billiard Association Hall of Fame. She changed the face of billiards and opened it to more women.
Masako Katsura’s father died when she was only 12 years old. She then went to live with her older sister and her husband, who ran a billiards hall. The elder Kobashi encouraged Katsura to play billiards and taught her everything he knew.
The three siblings all became professional billiard players. Katsura later married Master Sergeant Vernon Greenleaf, an American serviceman. They married in 1950 and moved to the U.S. but had no children. They separated a few years later. Masako Katsura and Greenleaf never married again.
Katsura’s professional career spanned three decades, with many years off from competition. After her world championship wins, she appeared on TV and wrote books about the sport in Japan. The sport’s interest dwindled, and the tournament was no longer held in 1961, but she continued to compete in billiards competitions. She moved back to Japan in the 1990s and died peacefully in 1995.
Katsura’s father and mother had a close relationship, and Katsura grew up in a large house with many rooms. Katsura’s parents were very wealthy, so they helped her pay for her education. She worked hard to develop her skills and was the only female professional billiard player in Japan by 1947. When she was thirty, Katsura won the women’s national three-cushion championship and competed in the men’s championship.
Katsura was a trailblazer. She made cue sports acceptable for women and was adored by her followers. Before Katsura, women playing cue sports were scandalous and regarded as taboo. The public loved her for her hard work and ability to change the world.
Katsura was born in Japan. She lived with her father until the age of twelve. She later moved in with her older sister and her husband. She married an American sergeant named Vernon Greenleaf, and they had no children. She achieved great fame in billiards and became the first woman to win the Women’s Professional Billiard Association National Games.
Masako Katsura studied political science at Tokyo’s Gakushuin University and then completed graduate school at the Australian National University. After graduating, he returned to Japan as an administrator at NHK. Prince Katsura’s death in June 2014 marked the end of his father’s branch of the Japanese Imperial Family. Females do not have the right to be part of the line of succession in the country.
Katsura has been interested in sports since her early childhood. She started practising billiards every day with the encouragement of her mother. Billiards was big business in Tokyo in the 1920s, and her mother’s brother-in-law owned one of the most popular billiard halls. Despite the early difficulties, Katsura found her knack for trick shots. She has been considered one of the greatest female athletes of all time.
Masako Katsura was born in Tokyo, Japan. Her father died when she was twelve, and she grew up with her three sisters and a younger brother. After her father’s death, she met an American sergeant and married him. The couple moved to the United States when she was thirty-six and lived happily there until his death in 1967.
Masako Katsura was a prominent woman in the sport of billiards for many years. She was the first woman to compete in the world three-cushion championship, which had previously been a male-only event. She married an American serviceman named Vernon Greenleaf, and the couple lived in the U.S. until Greenleaf’s death. She never had any children with her husband.
By 1947, Katsura had reached a high level of billiards in Asia, competing against men in many top-level competitions. She met Sergeant Vernon Greenleaf, an American serviceman stationed in Tokyo. The two became engaged and later married.
Throughout her career, Masako Katsura never stopped experimenting and evolving in her artistic endeavours. She developed her unique style and experimented with various mediums and techniques. Her work became highly regarded in Japan and the United States. She also won several awards.
Masako Katsura began competing in billiards in the 1920s when billiards was an important sport in Tokyo. Her brother-in-law, who owned a billiard hall, helped her learn the sport. By the age of 15, she won her first championship. Her talent eventually attracted the attention of Japan’s champion. Kinney Matsuyama, known as the Japanese Willie Hoppe, became Katsura’s coach and mentor. The two helped Katsura to develop new skills and enhance her stage performance skills.
Despite the hardships of the war, Masako Katsura was able to continue her career and achieve international recognition. She performed billiard tricks for American and Japanese troops. After the war, Katsura moved to the United States, where she won the 1952 World-Three Cushion Billiards tournament. She was the first woman to complete the event.
Her influence on billiards
As a child, Masako Katsura was weak and exhausted all the time. But her mother encouraged her to play billiards, which helped her get more robust. Tokyo billiards was quite popular at the time, and her uncle owned a pool hall. She started practising billiards daily.
When Masako Katsura and her father met, Katsura was already a top-flight billiards player and had placed second in two national three-cushion championships. She also met an American serviceman, Vernon Greenleaf, while stationed at Haneda Air Base in Tokyo. The two fell in love and married in 1950.
Masako Katsura made history as the first woman to compete in international billiards tournaments. She was the first female player to beat the world’s top male players and was a pioneer in encouraging women to participate in sports and make profound contributions. She also helped create rules for the game and the equipment players use today.
Katsura began playing the game at an early age and became one of the best players in the world by the time she was seventeen. When she was twenty, she was already a professional player and travelled around Japan to various tournaments. In 1951, she won the World Billiard Championship in England. After her win, she continued to play competitively throughout Japan. Her sports achievements earned her an Order of Culture from the Japanese government.
The first women’s straight rail tournament in Japan was won by Katsura, who had won a similar game in her youth. Later, Katsura’s younger sisters also won the same competition. Nevertheless, women were still not playing billiards as much as men were. Moreover, the press was more interested in the sex of the players. One newspaper dubbed Katsura a “true Japanese T-shirt”.
Katsura also became a role model for female billiards. In 1959, she made 30 exhibition appearances and played an exhibition match against Harold Worst. The two players played six games to 50 points and three cushions. At the time, Masako Katsura appeared on the popular CBS game show What’s My Line?