The discovery of CRISPR/Cas9 has drawn attention to gene editing technologies that enable genetic material to be added, removed, or altered at particular locations in the genome. Applied to plant modification, gene editing technologies are expected to improve crop productivity and profitability, quality, food safety, and the environment, while also enabling breeders to develop entirely new varieties. Excitement about these technologies spread quickly from the global to national arenas and from the scientific community to industry and to policy makers. However, this enthusiasm stands in counterpoint to the public’s deep skepticism about genetically modified foods. Drawing ideas from the idea of performativity of expectations, this article examines the social dynamics through which the new field of plant gene editing technologies has emerged in Japan by looking into the ways in which this new field is framed, understood, and envisaged in science policy documents and how the promises made in these documents serve to attract the interest of necessary allies, drawing resources, and forming sociotechnical networks, while also impeding the emergence of a counternarrative. This article uses varying sources to answer its research questions, including science policy texts and other types of archival records, such as meeting agendas and minutes, slides, parliamentary records, and specialized magazine articles. In addition, a series of participant observations took place at a range of meetings such as science policy working groups and public forums. The study found that even though genetically modified organisms stand as a political antecedent to gene editing, and thus could have interfered with the formation of this new field, collective frameworks grounded in epistemic nationalism facilitated the research and development of gene editing technologies, with material effects such as attracting institutional support and funding.