"Donabe" means clay pot in Japanese, and it's one of Japan's oldest cooking vessels, according to Naoko Takei Moore, author of Donabe: Classic and Modern Japanese Clay Pot Cooking. Originating in Japan's Iga province, the earthenware pots are made out of clay with properties ideal for operating at high temperatures, including in kilns and during high-heat cooking. This kind of clay from Iga is super porous, which means it builds heat slowly (and, similar to a slow-cooker, may take a longer time to initially heat up) but it keeps heat effectively once it's at peak temperature. According to Moore, every Japanese household has at least one donabe in its kitchen, and it's an important part of group meals, since a portable burner turns it into insta-hot pot.
Finalist for IACP (International Association of Culinary Professionals), 2016 Cookbook Awards in the International Category,San Francisco Chronicle – “The Top Cookbooks of 2015