This study aims to explore the mechanism of microRNA (miR)-101-3p-mediated SOX2/ZIC5 axis in the progression of cisplatin resistance of nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC). ZIC5 expression was analyzed with a bioinformatics database and detected in NPC cell lines. Cisplatin-resistant cells (HNE-1/DDP and C666-1/DDP) were transfected with sh-ZIC5, sh-SOX2, sh-SOX2 + pcDNA3.1-ZIC5, or miR-101-3p Agomir + pcDNA3.1-SOX2. MiR-101-3p, SOX2, and ZIC5 expression was assessed after transfection, and cancer associated phenotypes were evaluated after cisplatin treatment. The potential relationships among miR-101-3p, SOX2, and ZIC5 were analyzed. A xenograft mouse model of NPC was established with HNE-1 cells stably transfected or not transfected with oe-ZIC5 and subjected to tail vein injection of miR-101-3p Agomir and intraperitoneal injection of cisplatin. Overexpression of ZIC5 was found in cisplatin-resistant NPC cells. Downregulating ZIC5 in NPC cells decreased cell viability, promoted apoptosis, and reduced cisplatin resistance. SOX2 had a binding site on ZIC5, and SOX2 promoted proliferation, migration, and cisplatin resistance and inhibited cell apoptosis by up-regulating ZIC5. Mechanistically, miR-101-3p was decreased in cisplatin-resistant NPC cells and negatively targeted SOX2. Overexpression of miR-101-3p inhibited tumor growth and cisplatin resistance in xenograft mouse model, which was reversed by ZIC5 overexpression. In conclusion, the miR-101-3p/SOX2/ZIC5 axis was implicated in cancer associated phenotypes and cisplatin resistance in NPC.