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]

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


  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.
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