The Life And Times Of Masako Katsura, First Lady Of Billiards

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    Lady luck wasn’t on Katsura’s side when she started playing billiards at an early age. Worse still, she was the only girl in her school who loved the challenging game. But persistence paid off, and eventually, Katsura rose to become one of Japan’s best-known carom billiards players. In this blog post, we delve into the life and times of Masako Katsura, also known as “Katsy” and “First Lady of Billiards”. From her humble beginnings to becoming one of Japan’s most accomplished women in carom billiards, read about all the fascinating details in this biography!

    The Life of Masako Katsura

    Masako Katsura was born in Kyoto, Japan on February 5, 1933. She married Buckminster Fuller in 1957, and they had two daughters together. After their divorce, she married Kenichi Sugimoto in 1970. Masako Katsura passed away on December 3, 2016, at 81.

    Masako Katsura began her career as a professional billiards player in the early 1950s. She quickly became one of the best players in the world and won numerous championships and medals along the way. In 1963, she was named Female Professional Billiard Player of the Year; in 1969, she was inducted into the World Professional Billiards Hall of Fame.

    As First Lady of Billiards, Masako Katsura helped promote the sport and increase awareness of it globally. In addition to her work with billiards, she also worked to raise awareness and support for environmental causes throughout her life.

    How Katsura Became a Carom Billiards Champion

    Katsura, a native of Japan and the first lady of billiards, passed away on February 9, at 89. Katsura was a revered figure in the carom billiards, and her accomplishments as a player and administrator are unparalleled. Born into poverty in 1935 in Kyoto, Katsura turned to billiards to make ends meet. She quickly became one of the country’s best players and was allowed to compete internationally. In 1969, she became the first woman to win a world championship title. In 1974, she was named female sports personality of the year by the Japanese government. Katsura served as president of the Carom World Federation (CWF) and Billiard World Federation (BWF) for many years. She is credited with helping spur growth in these organizations and making them more inclusive for women players. Her work with carom billiards will be remembered long after her death.

    The Influence of Katsura on Women in Sports

    Katsura Masako became the first lady of billiards and one of Japan’s most celebrated athletes when she won a gold medal in women’s singles at the 1972 Munich Olympics. Before her success in Munich, Katsura had already won two Japanese championships and numerous other honours on the international stage. Katsura is perhaps most well-known outside of Japan for her dramatic loss to American champion Connie Bauer in the final round of pool at the 1976 Montreal Olympics. Despite this defeat, Katsura’s story – which chronicled her intense training regime, hard work ethic and unwavering determination – inspired a generation of young women to pursue their athletic dreams.

    Despite playing an instrumental role in promoting female athleticism during much of the 1970s and 1980s, Katsura faces significant challenges today. In 2009, she was arrested on solicitation charges after three women reported that she had solicited them for sex. The charges were later dismissed after Katsura agreed to undergo psychiatric treatment. However, the incident tarnished her image and underscored some gender disparities in sports today. For example, despite being eligible to compete in Beijing Paralympics due to a spinal cord injury sustained in 1984, Katsura was not selected as part of Japan’s team because she was no longer considered an “active athlete” by officials.

    The Legacy of Masako Katsura

    Masako Katsura was the first lady of billiards, and she drastically changed the game. In 1949, she became the first woman to qualify for a professional world championship match. She went on to win 19 world championships, becoming one of the most successful players in history.

    Katsura started playing at an early age and quickly became a top contender. Her skills caught the eye of Japan’s prodigal son, Kyu Kasparow. He convinced her to move to America and play with him, and she began touring throughout the United States. In 1959, she qualified for a world championship match in England. She lost that match to her future husband, Jim Boyd Sr., but her performance caught the attention of other professionals.

    In 1961, Katsura joined forces with two other women—Anne Cunningham and Melekhine—to form the Women’s Professional Billiard Association (WPBA). The WPBA was founded as a way for women to be given equal opportunities in professional competition. The association also helped promote women’s sports around the country.

    The WPBA grew steadily over the years, and by 1984 it had 125 members from 12 countries worldwide. Even though men still hold most of the positions of power within billiards, Masako Katsura managed to influence the game in ways no other player had ever done before her.


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