By 1903, she'd had enough. She pawned her jewelry and bought a third-class ferry ticket from Shanghai to Tokyo. Japan had become a haven for idealistic young Chinese with revolutionary aspirations. It also offered education to women.
Because females were not allowed to travel alone, Jin boarded the ferry dressed as a man. She liked her new garments, and continued to wear them once in Japan. She gave herself the name "Jingxiong," meaning power, and took to carrying a katana sword. She studied and practiced martial arts. She gave lectures on gender equality and attended lectures on revolution. Speaking and writing in a vernacular that could be understood by most Chinese, she published articles against foot binding, the ancient practice of hobbling women's feet. It was difficult to walk on bound feet, much less run away: the ultimate symbol of male power over women in China.
In 1905, alarmed by the growing radicalism of Chinese exiles, the Japanese government banned them from "engaging in politics." That's when Jin decided to return to China. "Up to now, a lot of men have already died" for the cause of revolution in China, she wrote upon leaving. "But not many women have." She was ready to give her life, if necessary, for the future of her country and people.