Sample code:

>>> import json
>>> json_string = json.dumps("??? ????")
>>> print(json_string)
"\u05d1\u05e8\u05d9 \u05e6\u05e7\u05dc\u05d4"

The problem: it’s not human readable. My (smart) users want to verify or even edit text files with JSON dumps (and I’d rather not use XML).

Is there a way to serialize objects into UTF-8 JSON strings (instead of \uXXXX)?

Use the ensure_ascii=False switch to json.dumps(), then encode the value to UTF-8 manually:

>>> json_string = json.dumps("??? ????", ensure_ascii=False).encode('utf8')
>>> json_string
b'"\xd7\x91\xd7\xa8\xd7\x99 \xd7\xa6\xd7\xa7\xd7\x9c\xd7\x94"'
>>> print(json_string.decode())
"??? ????"

If you are writing to a file, just use json.dump() and leave it to the file object to encode:

with open('filename', 'w', encoding='utf8') as json_file:
    json.dump("??? ????", json_file, ensure_ascii=False)

Caveats for Python 2

For Python 2, there are some more caveats to take into account. If you are writing this to a file, you can use instead of open() to produce a file object that encodes Unicode values for you as you write, then use json.dump() instead to write to that file:

with'filename', 'w', encoding='utf8') as json_file:
    json.dump(u"??? ????", json_file, ensure_ascii=False)

Do note that there is a bug in the json module where the ensure_ascii=False flag can produce a mix of unicode and str objects. The workaround for Python 2 then is:

with'filename', 'w', encoding='utf8') as json_file:
    data = json.dumps(u"??? ????", ensure_ascii=False)
    # unicode(data) auto-decodes data to unicode if str

In Python 2, when using byte strings (type str), encoded to UTF-8, make sure to also set the encoding keyword:

>>> d={ 1: "??? ????", 2: u"??? ????" }
>>> d
{1: '\xd7\x91\xd7\xa8\xd7\x99 \xd7\xa6\xd7\xa7\xd7\x9c\xd7\x94', 2: u'\u05d1\u05e8\u05d9 \u05e6\u05e7\u05dc\u05d4'}

>>> s=json.dumps(d, ensure_ascii=False, encoding='utf8')
>>> s
u'{"1": "\u05d1\u05e8\u05d9 \u05e6\u05e7\u05dc\u05d4", "2": "\u05d1\u05e8\u05d9 \u05e6\u05e7\u05dc\u05d4"}'
>>> json.loads(s)['1']
u'\u05d1\u05e8\u05d9 \u05e6\u05e7\u05dc\u05d4'
>>> json.loads(s)['2']
u'\u05d1\u05e8\u05d9 \u05e6\u05e7\u05dc\u05d4'
>>> print json.loads(s)['1']
??? ????
>>> print json.loads(s)['2']
??? ????

To write to a file

import codecs
import json

with'your_file.txt', 'w', encoding='utf-8') as f:
    json.dump({"message":"xin chào vi?t nam"}, f, ensure_ascii=False)

To print to stdout

import json
print(json.dumps({"message":"xin chào vi?t nam"}, ensure_ascii=False))

Peters’ python 2 workaround fails on an edge case:

d = {u'keyword': u'bad credit  \xe7redit cards'}
with'filename', 'w', encoding='utf8') as json_file:
    data = json.dumps(d, ensure_ascii=False).decode('utf8')
    except TypeError:
        # Decode data to Unicode first

UnicodeEncodeError: 'ascii' codec can't encode character u'\xe7' in position 25: ordinal not in range(128)

It was crashing on the .decode(‘utf8’) part of line 3. I fixed the problem by making the program much simpler by avoiding that step as well as the special casing of ascii:

with'filename', 'w', encoding='utf8') as json_file:
  data = json.dumps(d, ensure_ascii=False, encoding='utf8')

cat filename
{"keyword": "bad credit  çredit cards"}

UPDATE: This is wrong answer, but it’s still useful to understand why it’s wrong. See comments.

How about unicode-escape?

>>> d = {1: "??? ????", 2: u"??? ????"}
>>> json_str = json.dumps(d).decode('unicode-escape').encode('utf8')
>>> print json_str
{"1": "??? ????", "2": "??? ????"}

As of Python 3.7 the following code works fine:

from json import dumps
result = {"symbol": "ƒ"}
json_string = dumps(result, sort_keys=True, indent=2, ensure_ascii=False)


{"symbol": "ƒ"}

The following is my understanding var reading answer above and google.

# coding:utf-8
@update: 2017-01-09 14:44:39
@explain: str, unicode, bytes in python2to3
    #python2 UnicodeDecodeError: 'ascii' codec can't decode byte 0xe4 in position 7: ordinal not in range(128)
    #sys.setdefaultencoding('utf-8') #python3 don't have this attribute.
    #not suggest even in python2 #see:
    #2.overwrite /usr/lib/python2.7/ or ( and PYTHONPATH=".:$PYTHONPATH" python)
    #too complex
    #3.control by your own (best)
    #==> all string must be unicode like python3 (u'xx'|b'xx'.encode('utf-8')) (unicode 's disappeared in python3)

    #how to Saving utf-8 texts in json.dumps as UTF8, not as \u escape sequence

from __future__ import print_function
import json

a = {"b": u"??"}  # add u for python2 compatibility
print('%r' % a)
print('%r' % json.dumps(a))
print('%r' % (json.dumps(a).encode('utf8')))
a = {"b": u"??"}
print('%r' % json.dumps(a, ensure_ascii=False))
print('%r' % (json.dumps(a, ensure_ascii=False).encode('utf8')))
# print(a.encode('utf8')) #AttributeError: 'dict' object has no attribute 'encode'

# python2:bytes=str; python3:bytes
b = a['b'].encode('utf-8')
print('%r' % b)
print('%r' % b.decode("utf-8"))

# python2:unicode; python3:str=unicode
c = b.decode('utf-8')
print('%r' % c)
print('%r' % c.encode('utf-8'))
{'b': u'\u4e2d\u6587'}
'{"b": "\\u4e2d\\u6587"}'
'{"b": "\\u4e2d\\u6587"}'
u'{"b": "\u4e2d\u6587"}'
'{"b": "\xe4\xb8\xad\xe6\x96\x87"}'



{'b': '??'}
'{"b": "\\u4e2d\\u6587"}'
b'{"b": "\\u4e2d\\u6587"}'
'{"b": "??"}'
b'{"b": "\xe4\xb8\xad\xe6\x96\x87"}'



Thanks for the original answer here. With python 3 the following line of code:


was ok. Consider trying not writing too much text in the code if it’s not imperative.

This might be good enough for the python console. However, to satisfy a server you might need to set the locale as explained here (if it is on apache2)

basically install he_IL or whatever language locale on ubuntu
check it is not installed

locale -a 

install it where XX is your language

sudo apt-get install language-pack-XX

For example:

sudo apt-get install language-pack-he

add the following text to /etc/apache2/envvrs

export LANG='he_IL.UTF-8'
export LC_ALL='he_IL.UTF-8'

Than you would hopefully not get python errors on from apache like:

print (js)
UnicodeEncodeError: ‘ascii’ codec can’t encode characters in position 41-45: ordinal not in range(128)

Also in apache try to make utf the default encoding as explained here:

How to change the default encoding to UTF-8 for Apache?

Do it early because apache errors can be pain to debug and you can mistakenly think it’s from python which possibly isn’t the case in that situation

Here’s my solution using json.dump():

def jsonWrite(p, pyobj, ensure_ascii=False, encoding=SYSTEM_ENCODING, **kwargs):
    with, 'wb', 'utf_8') as fileobj:
        json.dump(pyobj, fileobj, ensure_ascii=ensure_ascii,encoding=encoding, **kwargs)

where SYSTEM_ENCODING is set to:

locale.setlocale(locale.LC_ALL, '')
SYSTEM_ENCODING = locale.getlocale()[1]

Use codecs if possible,

with'file_path', 'a+', 'utf-8') as fp:
    fp.write(json.dumps(res, ensure_ascii=False))

If you are loading JSON string from a file & file contents arabic texts. Then this will work.

Assume File like: arabic.json

"key1" : "?????????",
"key2" : "????? ??????"

Get the arabic contents from the arabic.json file

with open(arabic.json, encoding='utf-8') as f:
   # deserialises it
   json_data = json.load(f)

# json formatted string
json_data2 = json.dumps(json_data, ensure_ascii = False)

To use JSON Data in Django Template follow below steps:

# If have to get the JSON index in Django Template file, then simply decode the encoded string.


done! Now we can get the results as JSON index with arabic value.

use unicode-escape to solve problem

>>>import json
>>>json_string = json.dumps("??? ????")
'"??? ????"'


>>>s="?  ???  ???"
>>>print('unicode: ' + s.encode('unicode-escape').decode('utf-8'))
unicode: \u6f22  \u03c7\u03b1\u03bd  \u0445\u0430\u043d

>>>u = s.encode('unicode-escape').decode('utf-8')
>>>print('original: ' + u.encode("utf-8").decode('unicode-escape'))
original: ?  ???  ???

original resource?

Using ensure_ascii=False in json.dumps is the right direction to solve this problem, as pointed out by Martijn. However, this may raise an exception:

UnicodeDecodeError: 'ascii' codec can't decode byte 0xe7 in position 1: ordinal not in range(128)

You need extra settings in either or to set your sys.getdefaultencoding() correct. is under lib/python2.7/ and is under lib/python2.7/site-packages.

If you want to use, under def setencoding(): change the first if 0: to if 1: so that python will use your operation system’s locale.

If you prefer to use, which may not exist if you haven’t created it. simply put these lines:

import sys

Then you can do some Chinese json output in utf-8 format, such as:

name = {"last_name": u"?"}
json.dumps(name, ensure_ascii=False)

You will get an utf-8 encoded string, rather than \u escaped json string.

To verify your default encoding:

print sys.getdefaultencoding()

You should get “utf-8” or “UTF-8” to verify your or settings.

Please note that you could not do sys.setdefaultencoding(“utf-8”) at interactive python console.