Prince Motoyoshi (890-943), son of Emperor Yozei in the Heian period, is a waka poet famous for romance materials. Dedicated to an ardent lover, this poem was included in the imperial waka anthology Gosen Wakashu (Later Collection of Japanese Poems) and quoted in Miotsukushi (Channel Buoys), chapter fourteen of The Tale of Genji.
An ox loaded with thatches following a herdsman on the cliff walk. Two umbrella-concealed ladies walking elegantly from the other side, accompanied by their porter. Miotsukushi, the group of channel markers at the center subtly echo to ‘Miwotsukushite mo’ in the poem, as a kakekotoba (pivot word; pun) of ‘to tire myself out’ and a visual connotation to an emotional encounter. Channel marker has been a historic symbol for Naniwa, now Osaka, as can be seen on the seal and flag of the city even today.
The poem reads:
Wabinureba ima hata onaji Naniha naru miwotsukushite mo ahamu to zo omofu
Miserable, now, it is all the same, channel markers at Naniwa-- even if it costs my life, I will see you again!