Jamie Joseph says loyalty was why he decided to stick with Japan and not contest the All Blacks coaching job last year.
Joseph took himself out of the running to be the next All Blacks coach a couple of weeks before the process finished last year.
He said there were initial talks with Ian Foster to join him, but after the performance of Japan at the Rugby World Cup, things went "crazy".
There was a lot of unexpected things happening and the landscape changed, he said, noting that New Zealand Rugby's process in their coaching search did not allow him to apply for it seriously.
"Applying for a job at the same time you are applying for another job does not show much loyalty. And that was one of the values we have learned in Otago ... loyalty is a a big factor. Just because it is professional, for me, it [loyalty] is still really important."
He said it was easier to stay with Japan and maybe come back to the All Blacks job next time.
Joseph has been back in Dunedin for the past few weeks as rugby in Japan shuts down, and he is enjoying spending the most time with his family in a decade.
In an interview with the Otago Daily Times, he said rugby in Japan was on a high post the World Cup, and he was still planning for some mid-year tests for the Japanese team.
The game had really taken off in Japan following the World Cup where Japan had topped its pool, winning all four of its games, before going down to South Africa in the quarter-finals.
"It went a bit crazy there. You would go out and get recognised straight away. It was hard to go out and do things normally," he said.
"Players were on different shows ... became overnight celebrities."
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Captain Michael Leitch had become a huge star, and having lived in Japan for half of his life, was seen as a real Japanese hero.
"Every time he steps out he is mobbed. I think he has got a coffee shop so he just stays there and drinks his coffee."
The Japan side was not like other international teams — players had to work, and could not train fulltime. Last year though, players were with the team from February, and Joseph could have full control over them.
"We have been getting better. Two years ago we should have beaten France in France, we drew with them. We competed really well against England and were winning with 20 minutes left. That crystallised what we were trying to do as a team — just to create trust and belief."
Joseph said he did not do a lot of self-analysis on his combination with assistant coach Tony Brown. Values built while playing for Otago were the basis for their combination.
He felt the duo were serious about rugby coaching, planning and selection, mixed in with good fun and playing good rugby. He did not know how accurate the good cop (Brown) and bad cop (Joseph) suggestion was.
Internationals in July against Wales, France and two tests against England were still scheduled, but appear doubtful.