Retrieval orientation, which is involved in recognition cue processing, optimizes goal-directed memory retrieval. However, whether the emotionality of encoding context affects subsequent retrieval orientation remains unclear. To clarify this, neutral objects were paired with either emotional or neutral background scenes during the study phase. During recognition test, only neutral objects were presented. The ERP analysis on the correctly rejected new items indicated that at least two processes were modulated by the emotionality of memory: 1) the arousal-modulated effect on the right-frontal scalp, and 2) the posterior-distributed effect, which was found to differentiate between memories with positive and negative valence. Furthermore, the magnitude of posterior-distributed effect was correlated with affective rating. The topographical distribution indicated that retrieval orientation for positive memories involves at least partially different neural circuitries from neutral or negative memories. Our results suggest that the emotionality of encoding context affects subsequent retrieval orientation.