I was watching "Uta Kon" (うたコン) as usual on Tuesday night and was delighted to see Sachiko Kobayashi（小林幸子）again after quite a while. The talking segment had the hosts show segments from past editions of the Kohaku Utagassen when Kobayashi was a regular competitor as she appeared in some of the most outlandish and gigantic costumes. To be honest, I gradually got quite tired of the spectacle after a few years but still there's no denying that I have liked a number of the singer's songs over the decades.
Kobayashi sang one of her hits that I hadn't been aware about. "Yuki Tsubaki" (Snow Camellias) was released as her 43rd single in June 1987. She has referred to the song written by Tetsuro Hoshino（星野哲郎）and composed by Minoru Endo（遠藤実）as one of her treasures since the snow camellia is a flower to be found in her native Niigata Prefecture and the song to her is a mindful one due to the 2004 Chūetsu earthquake that struck the area.
I'm not totally certain on the lyrics myself but it seems as if those camellias are a symbol of people, and perhaps especially mothers, taking on that huge burden knowing that the spring will eventually come. I think there is also a component of the loyal daughter finally having to leave the nest to start her own family with all of the happiness and tears that comes with that.
So it's not a surprise that although it only got as high as No. 23 on the charts, the enka song was a long seller, staying in the Top 100 for 104 weeks and selling over 800,000 copies. It would gradually become the 29th-ranked single of 1988. Kobayashi ended up singing "Yuki Tsubaki" three times on the Kohaku Utagassen.