First, it looks like the Helen McCarthy article on the making of the "Fuichin-san" anime has gotten lost. The link I included just goes to a website hijacking page, implying that the original domain name might have gone up for grabs and someone else snatched it.
Second, I decided to register my copy of NJStar, which is a really powerful wordprocessor for using Nihongo under Windows, and has real-time kanji look-up. I then used this to translate the Toshiko Ueda biography information on the Ekura Animal site. This led me to doing a google search on her, and I still couldn't find much, even in Japanese. So, I ended up writing my first wiki entry yesterday. I've never done anything on wiki before, but it looks like there's a 4-day waiting period between registering an account, and being able to make a wiki entry public. Anyway, there's almost nothing written about Ueda-san and Fuichin-san, and I want to try to change that by writing up her bio and bibliography.
Third, turns out that Ueda-san wrote 5 different long-running manga titles, including 1 that ran for 11 years, and another for over 20 years (she was still working on this last title even after she turned 80). She also won a Shogakukan award for best children's manga, and a "distinguished service" award from the Japan Cartoonists Association. I wish I knew about her earlier, because she died just this year, in March, at age 90.
Ueda-san lived in Harbin, Manchuria from 40 days after she was born in 1917, to around the time she graduated from elementary school. She returned to Japan, fell in love with manga, and apprenticed under a popular shojo artist for a few years. Then, she returned to Harbin, where she worked in the office of the Manchuria Railroad before switching jobs as a writer for the Harbin daily newspaper. After this, WWII broke out, and when it ended, Ueda-san was interned for 1 year before being repatriated to Japan. During the internment period, she drew manga to cheer up everyone. After returning to Japan, she started drawing professionally, with her first story getting published in 1957 at age 40.
The Fuichin-san manga only ran 5 years. It's placed in Harbin, and is a call-back to the time that Ueda-san lived there as a child. While "Fuichin-san" didn't run anywhere near as long as two of her other manga, it's the one that she is now best known for. Her manga has become collector's items. I did a check on Amazon.co.jp, and there's maybe only one copy available of any given volume of her manga, and the asking prices are between $75 and $80 each.
Ueda-san is one of the people that helped shape the face of Shojo Manga as we know it today, but she's virtually unknown outside of Japan (and even in Japan, people under 40 don't know her). For this reason, I'm trying to write up the wiki entry, and to make her a little more visible to western audiences.
More of the Fuichin-san artwork can be found here: