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Content-based image retrieval has been actively studied in several fields. This provides more effective management and retrieval of images than the keyword-based approach. However, most of the conventional methods lack the capability to effectively incorporate human intuition and emotion into retrieving images. It is difficult to obtain satisfactory results when the user wants the image that cannot be explicitly described or can be requested only based on impression. In order to solve this problem and supplement the lack of the user's expression capability, we have developed an image retrieval system based on human preference and emotion by using an interactive genetic algorithm (IGA). This system extracts the feature from images by wavelet transform, and provides a user-friendly means to retrieve an image from a large database when the user cannot clearly define what the image must be. Therefore, this facilitates the search for the image not only with explicit queries, but also with implicit queries such as "cheerful impression," "gloomy impression," and so on. A thorough experiment with a 2000 image database shows the usefulness of the proposed system.