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For the puzzle with the same name, see Nurikabe (puzzle).
A depiction of the nurikabe

The nurikabe (ぬりかべ) is a Yōkai, or spirit, from Japanese folklore. It manifests as a wall that impedes or misdirects walking travelers at night. Trying to go around is futile as it extends itself forever. Knocking on the lower left part of the wall makes it disappear.[1] It has been suggested that the legend was created to explain travellers losing their bearings on long journeys.[2]

In popular culture[edit]

The nurikabe is most likely an inspiration for the enemy known as the Whomp from the Mario series.[citation needed] First appearing in Super Mario 64, the player must cause the Whomp to fall and make it vanish by stomping on its back, similar to the legend of tapping the lower corner of the nurikabe. New nurikabe inspired enemies called Wallops appear in Super Mario 3D Land. These actively block the player's path by moving and jumping in sync with the player.

Nurikabe is also an inspiration for the creature known as Monol from the Monster Rancher series. Much like the nurikabe, the Monol can change its form and expand itself.

In the video game Ōkami, Blockheads are demons that take the form of walls and block the player's path. They require the player to memorize a pattern of weak points and mark them with their brush to defeat them and open the path.

There is a character called Nurikabe in the manga and anime property GeGeGe no Kitaro, who used his massive size to protect Kitaro and his friends.

Nurikabe is also the inspiration for a puzzle type of the same name.

A yokai called Murikabe appears in Yokai Watch, based on Nurikabe. It causes those it possesses to answer "muri" to everything asked of them, and resembles a wall.


  1. ^ THE日本 Visual Human Life. 講談社. 1986: 759. ISBN 4-06-202038-6
  2. ^ "Nurikabe". The Element Encyclopedia of the Psychic World 1. Harper Element. 2006. p. 491. 
  • 妖怪ドットコム 『図説 妖怪辞典』 幻冬舎コミックス、2008年。ISBN 978-4-344-81486-8