Beat Takeshi may be a comedian, and this is no joke: He has penned a romantic novel.

Takeshi Kitano, his real name, is also an acclaimed film director specializing in violent yakuza flicks. But he says his novel is at the other end of the spectrum, a perfect love story.

Kitano, 70, who started out as one half of a popular "manzai" comic duo, has titled his novel "Analog."

He was partly inspired to write it by the award-winning debut novel of another celebrity with roots in stand-up comedy, Naoki Matayoshi, Kitano said at a news conference in Tokyo on Sept. 19.

Matayoshi won the prestigious Akutagawa Prize for his novel "Hibana" (Spark).

The book revolves around a thirtysomething interior designer who falls in love with a woman he meets by chance. To continue their relationship, the couple must meet at the same place at the same time every week. As often happens in such stories, an unexpected development threatens to tear them apart.

As a movie director, Kitano's most recent films include the "Outrage" series, which is packed with violent scenes.

But, he admitted that he always had an interest in "pure love" and wanted to write a novel along those lines.

He added that writing a novel was much more difficult than filmmaking in which the season, setting and characters can be expressed in an instant.

"In novels, words have to be used to allow the reader to imagine everything," Kitano said. "Unlike manzai or movies, there are no limits in terms of time and number of words."

He added that he felt he had to write now before it was too late.

"I wanted to apply a greater burden on myself," he said. "If I don't snatch opportunities when they arise, I'd never start something new."

Kitano explained the title of the novel captures his feelings about the present world.

"I hate smartphones," he said. "I feel the information technology industry is chaining all the people of the world. While it may be convenient, I feel it has an effect in widening the gap between the rich and poor. I want to continue in an analog manner as much as possible."

He also has plans to write a suspense story and is aiming to win another prestigious literary prize, the Naoki Prize, named in honor of novelist Sanjugo Naoki (1891-1934).

Referencing famous novelist Osamu Dazai's lobbying attempt to win the Akutagawa Prize, Kitano jokingly said he might approach some of those on the Naoki Prize jury to urge them to vote for his novel.

"Analog" is published by Shinchosha Publishing Co. and goes on sale Sept. 22.