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Dispute hits ‘housekeeper’ drama

SBS rejects call to change title for the remake of a Japanese drama

Major South Korean broadcaster SBS on Wednesday said it will not change the title of its new drama “Susanghan Gajeongbu (Suspicious Housekeeper)” despite the accusations that the word “gajeongbu” belittles housekeepers.

“We changed the script so the actors would not use the word gajeong-bu…. But there is not much we can do about the title,” an official from SBS told local media.

The official said since the new show is a remake of the popular Japanese drama “Kaseifu no Mita (I am Mita, Your Housekeeper),” the broadcast network has to retain the word gajeongbu, a Korean word equivalent for the Japanese “kaseifu.”

“Gajeongbu” is usually translated as housekeeper in English, but its literal translation is actually “a house woman.”

The National Institute of the Korean Language has defined the word as discriminatory, and recommended the use of “gasa-doumi,” meaning “housework helper.”

SBS said the controversial word is rarely used in the drama, and one of the characters in the show corrects children who call the main character Bok-nyu a gajeongbu.

On Friday, the Korean Women Workers Association and the National House Management Cooperative held a press conference in front of SBS and denounced the use of the word.

“We are trained professionals who work with pride,” said a member of the National House Management Cooperative. “Call us gajeong-gwanlisa (house managers).”

The new drama, to air from Sept. 23, is about a dysfunctional family and a “strange” housekeeper who follows the twisted orders of the family members.

“Kaseifu no Mita,” the Japanese version of the drama, aired in 2011. It starred Nanako Matsushima, one of the biggest stars in Japanese television.

Its viewership rating peaked in its last episode at 40 percent, marking the second-highest rating of 2011. It was also the third-most watched program ever in Japan.