This page is referenced by:
Aion 1.1 (1970)
Aion 1.1 (1970)
The first issue of Aion appeared in the spring of 1971.
The editorial at the beginning of the issue is notable:
The dominant white society in America, by perpetuating its racist values, has insidiously created a cycle of self-hate between and within ethic groups.
As Asian Americans, we have been conditioned by stereotypes imposed upon us by the white middle class and have internalized the consequent insecurity and confusion. Dependency upon these values and standards has caused an absence of self-knowledge and its complementary fear and paralysis.
Our continued complacency within this racist society will bring about our cultural destruction. We must join the international movement to end the explotation of all Third World peoples and work to create our own revolutionary culture in this country.
We hope that AION will provide a forum for Asian American selfdefinition and expression on issues revelant to problems and needs of our communities.
Also notable is the list of dedicatees, which is obviously ironic and irreverent, including a number of famous racists: "General Elwell S. Otis, Eisako Sato, Ku Klux Klan, William Randolph Hearst, John Wayne, Chiang Kai Shek, FDR, 'Fat Jap' Agnew..." Critics have suggested this list might have been authored by Francis Oka.
It might also be worth mentioning the 'special thanks' page of the first issue. Several of the names mentioned are figures who would either be familiar from Gidra or from other venues, including Colin Watanabe and Isao Fujimoto (both from Gidra), Reverend A. Cecil Williams (leader of the Church Janice Mirikitani was also a member of; Janice Mirikitani's future husband), and Jeff Chan (future co-editor of Aiiieeeee!).
Annotated Table of Contents:
- The Need for an United Asian American Front, by Alex Hing. An activist call to action for the new Asian American movement. A key passage might be the following: "Because of the San Francisco Bay Area's political climate and because San Francisco's Chinatown is the largest Asian community outside of Asia, the Bay Area is the most logical place of a massive Asian-American movement to begin. In fact, the Bay Area has already made steps in that direction with the formation of the Asian-American Political Alliance (AAPA), the Inter-Collegiate Chinese for Social Action (ICSA), the Philipino-American College Endeavor (PACE) and the Red Guard" (10)
- "The Cell" by Francis Oka ("We spoke of politics -- / our love-making / a reflection / in revolutionary posters / hanging as spectres / on our bedroom wals.")
- Chinatown: A Photographic Essay (Text from “Report of the San Francisco Chinese Community Citizens’Survey & Fact Finding Committee”: Proj. Coordinator, A. Baccari, 1969)
- "Poem to the Alien / Native" by Janice Mirikitani
- Red Guard Program" by Red Guard Party
- "Interview with Alex Hing" by Neil Gotanda
- "Father of My Father" by Lawson Fusao Inada ("In Arkansas he staked a ragged garden. / Then that Colorado wind / eroded. / I flourished in that sand. / But what comes second-hand / is not the same.")
- "On the Containment of China" by R. Matsuda
- Illustration by Saichi Kawahara
- "A Chapter From Utopia" by Mushi. A short story with an erotic theme. The protagonist is a "novice" who is educated into an experimental sex/gender system that favors experimentation leading to "complete independence." While the intent appears to be sexual liberation for women, the story ends with a note that hints at sexual servitude.
- Graphic by Janice Ide
- "Snow on the River" by Liu Tsung Yuan. Translated by Gary Woo
- "We Ain’t Got Class" by H. Wong
Janice Mirikitani (b. 1941; Bio and Resources)
Bio and Resources on Poet and Editor Janice Mirikitani
Janice Mirikitani is a third-generation (Sansei) Japanese American poet and editor whose involvement in the Asian American literary movement begins in 1970 -- when she creates Aion, widely thought to be the first Asian American literary magazine.
Like many Japanese Americans of her generation, she and her family were interned during World War II; her family was relocated to the Rohwer War Relocation Center in Arkansas.
Mirikitani earned a B.A. at UCLA. She then moved to San Francisco, where she briefly was in graduate school for creative writing at San Francisco State University. She started working for the social-justice oriented Glide Memorial Church in San Francisco -- beginning a relationship that has continued to this day. (More recently she has been the president of the Glide Foundation, a San Francisco non-profit.) She was also briefly involved in the Asian American Political Alliance (AAPA).
In addition to editing Aion and Ayumi: A Japanese American Anthology (1980), she is the author of several books of poetry, including Awake in the River (1978), Shedding Silence (1987), and We, the Dangerous (1995). In 2000, she was appointed the Poet Laureat of the city of San Francisco.
Materials Related to Janice Mirikitani on this Site:
Entry for Janice Mirikitani (by Patricia Wakida, Densho Encyclopedia)
Entry for Janice Mirikitani (Wikipedia)
"For a Daughter Who Leaves..." (poem at Poets.org)
Interview with Janice Mirikitani (YouTube; interview by Densho)