According to a 2012 UC Davis study, people carrying the last names of what once was Japan's feudal ruling class tend to be in large numbers in top portion for society's classification of hierarchy.
The study by Gregory Clark (University of California Davis) and graduate student Tatsuya Ishii came to the conclusion that people with less common samurai corresponding last names, for instance, Sugieda or Shinmi are more likely to appear to be classified as in the upper class category when compared with last names that are more common in Japan, for example, Japan's top 2 recognized last names like Suzuki and Sato.
This is a statistical study. It is not intended to disrespect or harm the individual's worth by the person's last name or of their surname. Meaning that if one has a common last name in Japan or etc., that does not determine where a person is or is seen as being in a particular level on the social rankings of society. If one is considered as standing in the lower class in terms of individual assets and etc., it does not deter the person's ethical standings and self value. Regardless of social category, people have different abilities and biological reaction that puts emphasis on each individual's unique set of skills in certain areas of expertise, for example, people may work more exceptionally in certain profession than in other areas of occupation.
Shinmi and Sugieda are the surnames listed in a 1812 genealogy (study of family history) of samurai families that were complied by bureaucrats who worked below the Tokugawa shoguns. The Tokugawa Clan were comprised of noble class samurai whom ruled Japan from 1603-1867.
In Prof. Clark's book, "The Son Also Rises," holds that the descendants' riches is generally influenced by what your ancestors were doing past centuries ago.
Along with other upper classes, the samurai's lost their legal benefits and authorization in Japan during the country's postwar constitution, which holds that all people are legally equal.
In the Japanese study, the organization picked out family names from 1812's data and matched them with a modern Internet database called the World Names Profiler. The study concluded that people with the rare samurai names were plentiful when the surnames were correlated with the names of corporate managers, doctors, lawyers and University Professors.
In Prof. Clark's research, history in Japan and China portrays that drastic social reform such as Japan's Meiji Restoration in 1868 and the Communist Revolution in China did not change the individual's social status and wealth of those who seemed likely to have the most impact upon.
On contrast, Satoshi Miwa, a board member of the organization and the Professor associate at Tohoku University's Graduate School of Education, said he was not acquainted with the research regarding social rank that was solely focused on family names. He adds, that the findings for the conclusions of UC Davis's study persuasive.
Whether or not the study portrays the statistics of which family names are more likely to be found in the upper echelons of an organized community and it's connection to what one's ancestors were doing, this idea does not apply to every individual based on whether one's past generations had a less common surname today of what used to be of high samurai origin.
I believe knowledge based on experience has a lot to do with your current goals along with one's standing and ethical approach on whether one is considered to be in or if one is willingly having the abilities to pursue the ladders of the social strata.