In studies with brain-damaged patients and experimental animals, the medial temporal lobe, including the hippocampus and parahippocampal gyrus, has been found to play a critical role in establishing declarative or episodic memory. We measured the neural response in these structures, using event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging, while six healthy subjects performed the retrieval task for facial identity and emotion, respectively. Under the identity condition, the subjects participated in a yes/no recognition test for neutral faces learned before the scanning. Under the emotion condition, the subjects learned the faces with positive or negative expression and retrieved their expressions from neutral cue faces. The results showed that the left hippocampus is primarily involved in the identification of learned faces, and that the adjacent parahippocampal gyrus responds more to target than to distracter events. These results indicate a specific engagement of the left hippocampal regions in conscious recollection and identification of physiognomic facial features. The activity in the right hippocampus increased under both the identity and emotion conditions. The present results may relate with the functional model of face recognition in which the left hemisphere contributes to the processing of detailed features and the right hemisphere is efficient in the processing of global features.