Today’s Google Doodle is dedicated to Masako Katsura first lady of carom billiards

by Alex Balomenos

Masako katsura doodle three cushion billiards

Today’s Doodle celebrates ambidextrous Japanese sharpshooter Masako “The First Lady of Billiards” Katsura, who made history as the first woman to compete for an international billiards title on this day in 1952.

Born in Tokyo in 1913, Katsura picked up billiards at age 12 from her brother-in-law, a game room owner, and by 15 she was the Japanese women’s champion in straight rail—a challenging variation of carom billiards in which the cue ball must hit two balls in a row to score points. After 19, she only competed in men’s tournaments; racking up 10,000 points at one exhibition in a mind-boggling four and a half hour run.

By the time Katsura moved to the United States in 1937, word of her unprecedented talent had reached eight-time world champion Welker Cochran.

He came out of retirement to challenge her in a series of three cushion billiards , an even tougher version of carom billiards, depicted in the Doodle artwork, that calls for the cue ball to hit at least three cushions before striking the two object balls for points.

Katsura so impressed Welker, he organized the World Championship Billiards tournament in 1952 to watch her compete against world’s foremost billiards aficionados.

Katsura upset some of the sport’s best players to finish seventh in the tournament, while the progress she made for women in a traditionally male-dominated game was a first.

Masako Katsura

To celebrate her historic achievements, Katsura was inducted into the Women’s Professional Billiard Association Hall of Fame in 1976 as one of the sport’s all-time greatest players.

So here’s to you, Masako Katsura First Lady of Billiards!


What is a Google Doodle?

The first-ever Google Doodle was designed by co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin and honoured The Burning Man event in Nevada.

Subsequent Doodles have been designed by other people and a specific team of people called Doodlers.

By 2019, the team had created over 4,000 Doodles for Google homepages around the world.

Google releases Doodles to celebrate anniversaries, birthdays or days of note throughout history.



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