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The samurai class was the political and military elite of the Tokugawa era (1600–1867) and a significant social force in the Meiji period (1868–1912) as well. Because most Japanese historians are Marxist in approach, modern economic theory and nondeterministic economic models have seldom been applied and tested. Here the author offers four hypotheses concerning the possible relationship between a decline in the samurai standard of living and the fall of the shogunate.