Asian American Little Magazines 1968-1974: By Amardeep Singh

Gidra Magazine (1969-1974; Los Angeles)

Gidra: The Monthly of the Asian American Experience, was a Los Angeles-based monthly that ran from 1969-1974. Given the range of topics covered and the pedigree of its authors and editors, Gidra might be the single most influential Asian American little magazine. A number of articles first published in Gidra were later re-published in other venues, including Roots: An Asian American Reader. Figures who would later be influential in California politics, including Warren Furutani and Mike Murase, had their start at Gidra, as did influential poets like Amy Uyematsu. 

Gidra was created by a group of students at the University of California, Los Angeles. Its early issues cover the first course on Asian American identity taught at UCLA, "Orientals in America" (issue 1-2; the course was taught by Yuji Ichioka), as well as the founding of the Asian American Student Alliance (issue 1-3). Other topics covered in the first few issues include the reaction of S.I. Hayakawa to Gidra itself (he was dismissive), as well as the trial of Dr. Thomas Noguchi. 

A breakthrough of sorts might be found in Gidra 1.5 (August 1969). This issue contains a series of detailed explorations of Asian American identity through historical essays looking at the experiences of Japanese Americans, Korean Americans, Chinese Americans, and Filipino Americans. It also contains an extensive list of community organizations. The strong historical focus and the emphasis on the emerging pan-ethnic networks suggests a shift in the magazine's orientation -- from an emphasis on provocation to a focus on community development. 

The entire run of Gidra is available online at Densho Repository

More links: 

An introduction to Gidra by Brian Niiya at Densho Digital Repository.
An overview of Gidra by Jaeah J. Lee, with recent interview material from editor Mike Murase. 

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