Summertime is usually a slow time for hogaku performances. In the old days, the halls weren't air-conditioned, and neither the performers nor the audience cared to sit for hours in the heat. The serious hogaku performance season and music festivals began in the autumn months, along with the cool breezes and lower temperatures.

Nonetheless, since summer is the low season for hall rentals, there are some jewels of performances to be heard, and many of the programs, especially involving those with students, are free or charge only a nominal admission fee. And, of course, the halls are all now air conditioned. Attending one of these concerts is an inexpensive way to escape the heat and hear some of Japan's finest musical traditions.

Joruri is the generic name for a narrative accompanied by shamisen music, and the most common example is Gidayu joruri, the narrator/singer who sits to the side of the bunraku puppet stage, reciting the dialogue and telling the story of the characters. His wide dramatic range and vocal contortions are one of the most fascinating aspects of the puppet theater.