Jo came off as a new "cute girl / tomboy" in Bushido Blade 2. While obviously less authentic-looking for a character in a samurai game set in Ancient Japan... Jo brought a "light-hearted" sort of fan service to the game and, as a unique archetype, brought some
easily-appreciated diversity to the roster.
Visually, she isn't anything spectacular, but there are some likeable aspects of her design. Her outfit is a bit skimpy but also works for her and helps her stand out in the game. She also has a clear likeness to Sakura Kasugano as well.
Since Street Fighter Alpha 2 & 3 were gaining popularity in 1998... one can't rule out Jo Kotomura being somewhat inspired by Sakura. I don't remember much uniqueness about her fighting style, but I think she had a cool sub-weapon.