Soy sauce is a traditional fermented seasoning in Asian countries, that has high antioxidant activity in vitro and some antioxidant activity in vivo. We attempted to identify the major antioxidants present, using the 2,2'-azinobis(3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulfonic acid) (ABTS) assay as a guide. 3-Hydroxy-2-methyl-4H-pyran-4-one (maltol) was one of several active compounds found in an ethyl acetate extract of dark soy sauce (DSS) and was present at millimolar concentrations in DSS. However, most of the antioxidant activity was present in colored fractions, two of which (CP1 and CP2) were obtained by gel filtration chromatography. Their structural characteristics based on nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and electrospray-ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (ESI-TOF-MS) analysis suggest that carbohydrate-containing pigments such as melanoidins are the major contributors to the high antioxidant capacity of DSS.