In 1969, five University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) students independently founded Gidra in response to what they perceived as anti-Asian sentiment on the schools campus and Los Angeles area. Initially they sought recognition from the university but after they were denied they decided to publish independently. The newspaper was named after the three headed monster King Ghidorah of the Godzilla franchise.
The paper was in publication for 5 years from 1969 to 1974 with a special anniversary edition in 1990 and five issues in 2000-2001 bringing the total to 66 issues. In its first phase, Gidra focused on the Asian American Movement and identity; its voice became the premier platform for describing the Movement and its goals, especially within the context of the campus and higher education. Gidra’s second phase coincided with increasing national crises, during which time the paper’s scope grew from the personal to encompass the antiwar movement, counterculture, and international perspectives. Gidra’s new focus spurred some of the staff to form a political study group and collective household in order to better analyze and accomplish the Movement’s goals. But ultimately their studies brought Gidra to the conclusion that the paper had finally outlived its usefulness. While Gidra only ran for five years, it critically shaped the Asian American Movement and inspired the creation of other similar publications and organizations.