Episode 26

Published on:

13th Mar 2023

Jamie Joseph: Leadership lessons and insights from Japan's Brave Blossoms Head Coach

Jamie Joseph, Head Coach of the Japanese rugby team, made time to speak with us about how he manages to bring the the team to higher and higher levels of success. As we approach the 2023 Rugby World Cup, it was great to hear Jamie’s insights into what makes a successful coach and player here. If you’ve ever wondered how he got to be where he is today, then this is the episode for you.

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In this episode you’ll hear:

  • What’s the first thing Jamie likes to do when he arrives back into Japan
  • How Jamie first came to Japan as a teenager
  • What he sees as important for people who are looking to succeed in Japan
  • When to push back and when to roll with the punches
  • What’s coming up for the Brave Blossoms in 2023

About Jamie

Jamie was born in Blenheim with rugby in his blood from his father’s career in Marlborough rugby circles. Jamie debuted in rugby himself for Otago in 1989, playing mostly at lock. 

He was called up for the New Zealand Māori squad for 10 matches through 1991 to 1994. During that time, he got his break and was promoted to the All Black trials in April 1992, and had his debut with the All Blacks in a World 15 side, playing his first test against Ireland in the same year. 

Jamie has had a career of 20 test matches with the All Blacks including being part of the 1995 Rugby World Cup. 

After that game, Jamie moved to Japan to kick off his international career here. Jamie played for the Fukuoka Sanix Blues for six years. Then he was selected to play in the Japan national team ahead of the 1999 Rugby World Cup. In 1999 Jamie debuted in Tokyo in a match against Canada.  

Fast forward to 2016 and where it was announced Jamie Joseph would be heading to Japan to take up the role of Head Coach for the Japan National Team and lead them to the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan. Jamie led his first charge for the Japan national team in a home game against Argentina. 

As coach of the Brave Blossoms, Jamie has posted three wins and a draw against Tier 1 nations and has had home tremendous wins at the 2019 Rugby World Cup over Ireland and Scotland which are clear highlights for his career and these were games that brought together a nation to become truly passionate about the game of rugby. 

In terms of coaching, Jamie has been coach for Wellington to the playoffs in each of his three years in charge of the side in his first role as head coach. He then coached the Highlanders in Super Rugby for six seasons, leading the side to their first ever Super Rugby title in 2015. Joseph coached the Sunwolves in Japan, and back home, both the Māori All Blacks and Barbarians sides to winning records before taking the reins of Japan in 2016.

As the Brave Blossoms begin their final approach for the World Cup with two matches in July against an “All Blacks XV” we are super excited to hear about Jamie’s experiences in Japan so far, what’s top of mind for him as he focuses on preparing for RWC 2023, and all other things he likes and has experienced during his eight seasons in Japan.


Japan Rugby Weekly: https://redcircle.com/shows/japan-rugby-weekly 

Jandals in Japan is brought to you by Catherine O’Connell Law and PodLaunch with Jayne

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About the Podcast

Jandals in Japan
Bringing The Land of the Long White Cloud to The Land of the Rising Sun
The best show about New Zealanders doing business in Japan, bringing The Land of the Long White Cloud to The Land of the Rising Sun
How do you build a brand in Japan and nurture a loyal customer base?
What do you need to have in your tool belt if you are thinking of coming to Japan to launch a business here?
Japan is often considered to be in the "too hard" basket but we are here to open up the black box of doing business in Japan.
We will share stories from successful Kiwis selling their products and services here in Japan.
They'll tell you their tips for success and pitfalls to avoid.
They'll share their challenges and what they did to overcome them.
They will tell you things you can't find in textbooks or on the internet.
We will also be sharing the latest intel and insights on Japan from our on-the-ground presence
And you'll hear some super business culture and other tips from us sprinkled throughout.
Grab a glass of sake and let's get into it.
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About your hosts

Jayne Nakata

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Jayne Nakata is a Southland girl who arrived in Japan in 2002, planning to stay just two years. 20 years later she is still living in Fukushima Prefecture with her Japanese husband and two children. When the triple disaster hit in 2011, Jayne made the commitment to stay in Fukushima and contribute to rebuilding the area. She is the host of the award winning podcast Transformations with Jayne, which is a favourite with international women living in Japan. She is also the double award winning podcast producer and manager for PodLaunch with Jayne.

Catherine O’Connell

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Born and bred in Christchurch, Catherine O'Connell landed in Japan in 2002, on a one year contract, and 20 years later she's planted her feet firmly in Japan. She built a wealth of business and cultural experience working at the coal face of brand-name Japanese corporates as in house legal counsel. Catherine took a leap of faith down the entrepreneurial route launching her own multi award-winning boutique law firm in Tokyo in 2018, being the first Kiwi and first foreign female to do so. She is Vice Chair of the Australian & New Zealand Chamber of Commerce in Japan and helps businesses thrive in the Japan market delivering business insights meshed with legal instincts. Catherine is also host of the award-winning Lawyer on Air Podcast.