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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 served as an inspiration for the enemies in the Super Mario video game series known as Whomps and Thwomps.[3]

One could also see a resemblance of the nurikabe in Snorlax[4] from the Pokémon video game series; it would often block your path and you would have to find another way around.


  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. 
  3. ^ LeJacq, Yannick (13 January 2015). "Ten Things You Might Not Know About Mario Kart". Kotaku. Retrieved 3 November 2016. 
  4. ^ "Snorlax (Pokémon) - Bulbapedia, the community-driven Pokémon encyclopedia". Retrieved 2017-12-21. 

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