Category Archives: Korean Culture through Drama

Age and Ajumma

Ji Jin-hee as the bachelor Jae-hee and Uhm Jung-hwa as Dr. Jang in the 2009 romantic comedy, The Man Who Can’t Get Married, KBS

Perhaps it’s because my birthday is coming up that I’m getting more and more sensitive to the term ajumma but I had to laugh at the “ajumma scene” with Dr. Jang and the children in Episode 2 of The Man Who Can’t Get married. Dr. Jang, a 40 year old single doctor, is being nagged by her dad to find a husband. He tries to set up blind dates for her and then wants her to join a match-making service. She’s mortified when she finds the application form he has got for her to join the agency and goes to question him about it. Her dad is a dentist and busy with a patient when she arrives so she sits next to two kids while she waits for him to finish so she can talk to him. But after she sits down the little boy next to her turns and tells the “adjumma” that she is sitting on his comic. His sister tells him not to call the lady ajumma because she’s heard that single ladies don’t like being called this.

What shall I call her then? he asks.

His sister looks flummoxed. She doesn’t know. And there’s the problem. What do you call a woman over 30 other than ajumma? The little boy looks closely at Dr. Jang and turns to his sister and says,

She does look like an adjumma though… Continue reading

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