Sōma-yaki, also known as Ōborisōma ware is a form of Japanese pottery from Fukushima Prefecture. It has its roots in the 17th century. Under the patronage and protection of the local Soma clan the kilns flourished and by the middle of the 19th century, there were more than 100 at work, making it the largest production center in the whole of the Tohoku region of northern Japan.
By 2011, there were 24 active kilns but the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in March 2011 severely affected this industry, as the village, located only 10km away from the nuclear power plants, was heavily polluted by radioactive material, and all craftsmen had to leave their workshops. Half of the artisans relocated to the surrounding area to rebuild their kilns, while the other half stopped making pottery completely. Since the traditional source of the clay was within the Fukushima exclusion zone, similar materials had to be invented and imported in order to continue producing the distinctive look.
Sōma-yaki is characterized by its green color and cracks on the surface. The different shrinkage factors between the clay and the glaze lead to this beautiful feature.
In the Edo period, the Sōma Clan's emblem was the "Sacred Horse". Therefore, a depiction of a horse, often in gold, is painted on Sōma ware, as a sign of good luck.