Yōkai Poetry: Nurikabe

Nurikabe

Summer moonlight sits /

On a forest in darkness /

Silent wall standing //

Unseen by the naked eye /

Skin like cold cement /

Toes wiggling on earthy mats //

Man pushes forward /

Pressing hands onto nothing /

The wall is stubborn //

The wall widens forever /

No way in passing /

Climbing is also absurd //

A wave of the hand /

Just slightly above the earth /

The road is open //

The foe, a plastered wall /

Its name is frustration //

nurikabe

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

You know the old saying, “the walls have ears?”  In Japan, the expression should be “the walls have feet.”  One of the most recognizable yōkai in Japan is the Nurikabe (lit. plastered wall).  This invisible monster manifests as . . . well . . . a wall . . . with eyes. and feet.  This creature may have been created to explain why travelers got lost during journeys at night.

The Nurikabe on a normal night

The Nurikabe on a normal night

The nurikabe’s attacks on humans focuses solely on frustration.  As you’re walking late at night, you suddenly find find yourself unable to move forward any further.  Your path is acutally being blocked by Nurikabe (remember, it’s invisible).  Don’t try to walk around it or climb over it, because it can extend as far as you can go to the left and right.  You cant knock nurikabe down either, but if you tap it near the ground with a stick, it will suddenly vanish.  If I were to guess, I’d say its legs are its weak spot.

While the nurikabe is commonly depicted as a stonewall with a simple face in modern times, a scroll from the 1800s illustrates the nurikabe as being very different in shape.

Jeez . . . Falkor really let himself go.

Jeez . . . Falkor really let himself go.

Until next time, see ya!

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One Response to Yōkai Poetry: Nurikabe

  1. Jonathan says:

    Good one. Have to be careful what I say when I think I’m alone

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